Romania, a market with potential for the gambling industry

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Online gambling-problems and solutions

Gambling has evolved together with technology, but legislation has lagged behind. Thus, in the Web 2.0 era, some players gave up on the classic roulette for the online one, which is just some clicks away.

While some countries have anticipated the hidden treasure of the binary digits and made online gambling legal, Romania still has to work on this chapter. The representatives of the local gambling industry declared that our country loss millions of Euro by delaying the measures regarding this aspect.

Claudiu Popa, marketing manager for Tobet Romania, part of Nordic Gaming Group, claims that the lack of a well defined legislative frame is a one of the obstacles that impedes online gambling  organization locally. Moreover, Popa says that the average Romanian player is not yet used to gaming on an online platform, because there is a hesitation and a problem of trust with this system.

Cristina Călinoiu, marketing manager for the local subsidiary of PokerStars, one of the greatest players of the industry, reckons that the only impediment of this business development is the refusal of the local authorities to license the online websites for cash gambling. According to PokerStars, the current legislation especially affects Romanians who want to start such a business on a national level, while the activity of marketing of the international websites goes on without hindrance.

While there are some discussions for the legalization of gambling, all over Europe the evolution of this segment varies from one region to another. “For example, in some countries, promotion of any kind has been restricted for this type of activities, like in Poland, while in others, restrictions for financial operations have been implemented for gambling companies, like for example in Norway. I believe that the main problem for the entire Europe is the lack a unitary approach of the member states of EU in regards to online gambling. For the moment, each country builds its own politics for this industry”, explains Popa.

Cristina Călinoiu also says that the online European gambling market passes through various dramatic changes, and the attitude of the states is different.”Some countries, like Poland, tried to forbid gambling in order to protect the business of the state, including poker which was allowed only in casinos. They now face a strong opposition of the strikers who want them to be legal. France has recently legalized online betting and gaming, and so has Italy. Moreover, Lithuania recognized poker to be a sport. Estonia tries to impose restrictions for the companies which don’t have Estonian license. I would argue that the biggest problem is the economic and legislative instability, which alerts the online gambling operators”, say the representatives of PokerStars.

The online Romanian player’s profile

Whether it is the desire to keep up with technology, the fact that they don’t want to waste their time to reach a casino or whether they don’t know to get a hold of their emotions when they face a favorable flop for all in, some Romanians give up on the pleasure to feel the cards in their hands in exchange for online games. Even if they hide behind the monitors, this doesn’t mean that they cannot be left out discovered or that their attitude is not an indicator of experience.

Stimulus-driven players, with an inner desire of fast and quick winnings, who bet on surprise games to earn big money- this is how the representatives of online gambling see Romanian players. The aggressiveness of Romanians is not, however, proportional with the stakes. Hence, Popa says that mostly because of the harsh economic context, the average amount Romanians bet is far from the European one or from that of long-term established gambling countries.

The accumulated experience is directly mirrored in the attitude of the online player. If some wish to play online so as not to be betrayed by their normal behavior from the gaming table, the opponents can easily form an image of the other players’ experience. “Most of times, beginners are rash and aggressive and quickly shift from virtual poker or low stakes one to high stakes. Yet, I believe they have potential as they are interested in international games and many of them acknowledge the importance of strategies and techniques, and not only that of rules. Those who have experience and are professional players can be characterized by self confidence and focus for international performance. For these players, poker is a business they need to take care of every day”, says the marketing manager of PokerStars.

The representatives of the online environment claim that the Romanian market is in a full development process and that Romania has a significant growing potential, despite the recent decline. “I strongly believe in the opportunity of this market to grow and in a meaningful increase of business in the next few years. I was convinced that in absence of the economic crisis, the online gambling industry in Romania had all the chances for experiencing a boom, similar to that in real estate and cars industries, from 2006-2007”, declared Claudiu Popa for Casino Inside.

Cristina Călinoiu considers that the local gambling industry has been hit rather hard in the last period. However, she thinks that if given the opportunity, the Romanian market can become one of the most attractive in Europe.

According to Popa, it is a possibility that if the legislation will change in favor of the online gambling, many companies in the industry will apply for a license. Moreover, some could even relocate part of their activities on our territory, due to the resourceful pool of IT specialists and of the fact that our workforce is still cheaper than the European average.

The PokerStars representative claims that if the legalization of online gambling takes place, the market could grow significantly, due to the high interest of Romanians for this segment. Thus, the competition among companies would be fierce and only those capable of retaining their clients would survive.

Tobet representatives are confident with their future in Romania and bet on increases for the next period.”Even if the economic conditions are not favorable, the market continues to grow and the net income of our company is also on an increasing trend. It is true that because we are a young company we place a lot of emphasis on the growth aspect, but we also try to build a strong brand in Romania” said Claudiu Popa.

Cristina Călinoiu believes that Romanians won’t give up their gambling habits, no matter the current economic context, due to the attraction of this segment. “Our company enjoys an increased popularity and many persons from the media say that the mentality regarding gambling starts to change in a positive manner. Hence, the players are no longer considered outcasts of society”, explained the marketing manager of Poker Stars.

Tobet offers sports bets, poker, casino games, live bets and livescore. Even though their main focus is Texas Hold’em, PokerStars offers a variety of games among which one can mention Omaha, Seven Card Stud, Razz, Horse or Badugi.

Author: Editor

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