Sofia, Bulgaria — The ninth Eastern European Gaming Summit (EEGS), held in Sofia, Bulgaria at the end of November, was the most successful and beneficial of all editions of the conference according to the feedback received from its regular delegates. EEGS has once again proven to be the nexus linking experts, professionals, representatives of land-based and online gaming. Organised by the Bulgarian Trade Association of Manufacturers and Operators in the Gaming Industry (BTAMOGI), the summit aroused an extraordinary interest from the representatives of the industry. Around 200 visitors and more took part in conference’s panels and discussions that got together more than 60 seasoned experts.
The chairman of the Bulgarian Trade Association of Manufacturers and Operators in the Gaming Industry (BTAMOGI) Mr. Angel Iribozov and the chairman of the Bulgaria’s State Commission on Gambling Mr. Ognemir Mitev performed the official opening of the Conference. In his opening remarks Mr. Angel Iribozov pointed out that the gaming industry is stable and the revenues in the state budget are exceeding the expectations and guarantee the stability. According to Mr. Ognemir Mitev, the conference serves as a great opportunity to exchange information and good practice on the manufacturing, operating and regulatory aspects of the gaming business. Local companies and operators showed
great interest in the summit that proved once again their open mindedness about the European experience in all topics, related to developments in the gaming industry.
The regulatory changes and challenges in Europe were the most debated issues during the first day of the summit. As there are different regulations in every country, the talks were very fruitful and led to more understanding of the various markets. The compliance in emerging European markets was a hot topic as well and the speakers succeeded to present the matter in all possible angles, explaining the standards and factors in the process of certification in the emerging European jurisdictions. The Q&A session, led by Dr. Simon Planzer was also of a great significance. Bertil Vagnhammar, policy officer, European Commission, presented an update on the enforcement and the key compliance facts regarding the 4th Anti-money Laundering Directive and its implementation for gambling establishments.
Before adopting the Directive the regulations were implemented only on casinos. Now, all
segments of the industry are covered. The Directive must be implemented in all EU countries by 2017”, stated the moderator and expert in EU law Dr. Simon Planzer. He shared also that until the Directive was adopted the money laundering was a problem of the national authorities, now it has become a European problem.
“We must educate all the participants in the industry in order to protect the final consumers”, said Dr. Joerg Hofmann, Senior Partner, Melchers Law Firm, former president of the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL). The education is of great importance in meaning that casino revenues in Europe are exceeding 4 billion euros and the trend is to increase even more, explained Carlo Pagan, General Director of the Casino Campione D’Italia and Vice President of the European Casino Association.
The important topic of responsible gaming was also discussed during the press conference with media representatives. “It becomes even more important with the development of technology and its entering in the sector. The education takes time, but the results will be present soon” explained Rossi McKee, a member of the board of BTAMOGI.
The influence of technology innovations used in the gaming industry was discussed during the second day of the conference. “Sometimes technology and innovations in the gaming industry are way ahead of the regulations”, Mr. Angel Iribozov said.
The importance of the omni-channel strategy was widely discussed as the speakers and participants unanimously agreed that it is the future of the gaming industry. As the online casinos gain more popularity with every year to come and virtual reality enters with big steps in the industry, a time will come when players would be able to stay home with their glasses on, entering the casino without even leaving their armchairs.
On the second day of the conference the trends in daily fantasy sports were highlighted by experts in the sector such as Jefrey Haas from DraftKings, as well as the most interesting matters about eSports, which are some of the hot topics in Europe, but still new for the regional markets. For the third consecutive year EEGS hosted the initiative Global Gaming Women where female leaders from the industry discussed the women’s empowerment in the sector, career challenges and success stories.