Highlights of Eastern European Gaming Summit (EEGS)
- More than 200 representatives from over 20 countries attended the conference. It is with 25 % more than the year before.
- More than 30 top experts in the gaming field from over 20 jurisdictions participated as speakers. On the focus of this year's conference were topics covering the changing gaming standards in Bulgaria and Europe, affected by the new technologies and online gaming, as well as the challenges and cooperation between institutions following the priorities of EU.
- Second day of the Summit was dedicated to casino operators. First part of the day was focused on the social responsibility of the gaming industry with examples from Netherlands and Austria. Second part presented the traditional EEGS Masterclass on the topic “Casino Management Systems”.
- Last year two parallel to the EEGS events were initiated: the Regulators round table and an open discussion of the local casino operators with the Bulgarian regulator. Both events were held once again under the aegis of Bulgarian State Commission on Gambling. More than 100 Bulgarian operators participated at this year's discussion.
The conference was opened by Morten Ronde, Chief Executive, Danish Online Gaming Association, who made a review on the gaming regulations in Europe and outlined the prospects and their developments. He remarked that 2012 was disappointing in this respect, despite some of the positive signals.
Angel Iribozov, the Chairman of the Board of the Bulgarian Gaming Association stated that in 2012 the gaming industry in Bulgaria brought to the state budget over 120 million BGN incomes. Meanwhile the sector shrank with nearly 45 % as a result of the increased taxes and requirements. This led to the closing or reduction of operations of many gaming halls. Mr. Iribozov also noted that the higher taxes did not lead to the desired increase of revenues, as expected.
This year’s topic for the Eastern Europe was extended with the aspects of the online gaming, and the speakers confidently expressed their opinion, that Bulgaria has potential to become a leader of the online gaming in the region as it has comprehensive gaming traditions.
“Competitive environment is a key to success”, shared Joseph Borg, Senior Advisor, WH Partners adding that blacklists and blocking of the illegal websites actually do not work. Meanwhile Sue Rossiter, Director Projects and Policy, Remote Gaming Association, underlined that tax rate and license fee are the main problems stopping development of the gaming market.