Excerpt from an interview of Radostina Valcheva for “Forbes - Georgia”
When was EGT established in Georgia?
Our local office was founded in 2007 and in fact we are the only gaming machines manufacturer that has a subsidiary in Georgia. Just for several years we have built reliable business liaisons with all casino operators in the country. Simultaneously with the ever improving sales results, we developed our technical support, establishing the only service center in Georgia for all kind of gaming equipment. We have a 24-hour line for emergency calls and react within one day, or immediately, depending on the technical issue at hand. Our service specialists are highly qualified, as we have a high-standard training program.
What is EGT’s current position on the Georgian Gaming Market and what are the company's future plans?
Even though our local office is considerably small in respect of some other EGT offices around the world, it has already obtained a leadership position in Georgia, gaining a 25% market share. We work with all 35 casinos in the country, supplying both land-based and interactive solutions, and our sales and rental services are equally preferred. Most popular in the country is our slant top cabinet from Vega Vision + series, as well as P-24/24 Up from Premier series, the automated Vega R8 roulette and the online games. We plan on keeping our leading market position not only by our most preferred products, but also by introducing new ones in near future, guaranteeing again the high quality of our services.
What's the competitive landscape like for you? What do you see as some of your competitive advantages in the space?
Our business has always been highly competitive and dynamic. For EGT the competition is on a global scale and we work in several directions to gain advantage over our market rivals. Among them are the widening of our distribution network and market coverage, the constant renewal of our product portfolio that is highly diversified. Certainly, part of our strength stems also in our result-oriented and resourceful product development departments, that create new projects at a pace often faster than competition and present their achievements at worldwide exhibitions. Last but not least, we have equally developed our technical support to be able to provide appropriate maintenance and service, when needed.
How would characterize legal environment – is it attractive for Gaming Industry companies or we could do better?
In the last several years one of the key factors that influenced the business of the local casino operators, unfortunately forcing many of them to leave the market, were the rising license fees and gambling taxes. So Georgia now is among the countries with the highest taxation, imposed on gambling. Of course, to determine an efficient fiscal framework for our industry has never been an easy task. It is because it has to fulfill a dual and contradictory role – to both encourage and discourage gambling.
Apart from the fiscal instrument the international practice has also known other ways of how to keep the balance between deriving revenues for the state budget and acting as a social guardian. One of them is the introduction of a certification policy for independent testing and evaluation of all types of gaming equipment, to ensure that all installed machines and provided online services meet the standards. Another alternative is to secure that minors are kept away from online gambling, which is an increasing problem in Georgia, etc. Either way EGT would support all endeavors that may lead to socially responsible and efficiently regulated gambling.