On February 20, 2015, Tbilisi with great success hosted Georgia Gaming Congress – the first industry event in recent years in gambling business, organized by Smile Expo, and its general sponsor BetConstruct.
The idea of holding such event in this country is not accidental. “Over recent years, Georgia places bets on gaming industry, and this is reasonable. Good location, no legislative ban on gambling and favorable conditions of taxation allowed gambling in Georgia a number of advantages. Realizing this, we decided to create effective platform for negotiations where representatives and owners of companies could discuss the specifics of gambling business in the country where it is completely legal, as well as establish new business contacts”, Lyudmila Machuskaya, coordinator of Georgia Gaming Congress said.
Congress lasted only one day, but it was a significant event: it has brought together over 100 participants from various gambling sectors: casino, poker, betting, online gambling, junket tourism, marketing, investment, construction, as well as representatives of governmental organizations. Experts presented 13 reports and shared not only their personal experience and knowledge, but also interesting analytical data, facts and forecasts.
The event was divided into two parts: the first was dedicated to development of land-based casinos, and the second – to online gambling. The conference was held by professionals of these areas of gambling market – Lavrentiy Gubin (Land based) and Dmitriy Danilenko (Online), who did meet the challenges with success.
About section “Land-based casinos”
The event was opened by Giorgi Pertaia (Georgian National Investment Agency) with report “Investment Climate and Business Opportunities in Georgia” and head of Department of International Relations of National Tourism Administration of Georgia Tornike Zirakishvili, delivering report on: “Junket tourism in Georgia”.
The first part of the congress was also dedicated to peculiarities of casinos operation in Georgia, the risks inherent in transition from land-based to online casinos, large potential of gray markets.
They also spoke about such an important aspect of gambling, as compliance with the law. In particular, Mike Nuttall (Global Retail Consultancy) told how to most effectively use casino license. Aram Orbelyan (“Concern Dialog”) covered the topic of compliance with the law on combating money laundering.
Report delivered by moderator of Lavrentiy Gubin was extremely interesting as it highlighted the peculiarities of casino operation in Georgia. Speaker briefly told about important milestones of the historical development of the industry, spoke about current taxes and fees, legal subtleties. Foreign investors were particularly interested to learn about the places where gambling is concentrated in Georgia, and about the audience casinos are focused on. No less useful was the information about the disadvantages of working in Georgia, which is important to consider when organizing gambling business.
The conclusion of the first part of the program was a fascinating presentation of the new construction project in Batumi – Metro City that will soon appear in the city, if the project will attract 1 million USD investments.
Second part of the event was dedicated to new, rapidly growing industry of online gambling. Leading experts talked about the possibilities of increasing the popularity of lotteries using holographic technology, latest developments and prospects of online gambling industry in Eurasia, methods of detecting bonuses abuse and multiple accounts of online players.
One of the key reports was the performance by moderator Dmitriy Danilenko, who covered important topic of right promotion in online gambling.
He identified major trends of online field, namely mobile and social gambling, growing popularity of Bitcoin. Dmitriy Danilenko gave a brief overview of the existing possibilities of promotion online, including word of mouth, focus on SEO-traffic, sending messages to mobile devices, gamification and so on.
Business program was completed with the report of Denis Zheltovskiy on: “The ideal platform as an online casino’s ticket to success”.
It is worth noting that information provided by the speakers was very interesting for conference attendees, they asked a lot of questions, so there was a constructive dialogue between industry professionals. In addition, the very presentations of the speakers contained a lot of practical examples.
At Gaming Congress held on cold February day, communication was boiling not only during reporting, but in between, on the presentation stands and on the sidelines. The event was visited by many representatives of foreign companies that are considering Georgia as a place to build their business, but, despite the language difference, everybody perfectly understood each other. In particular, many construction companies that specialize in global projects have found partners for further cooperation at the congress.
“Congress was very interesting for those who would like to open the country to develop their business, no wonder it was attended by representatives of leading firms in the industry. The speakers invited were highly skilled professionals and each participant could talk to them. This is a very important platform for securing business and social contacts, and in Georgia it cannot be otherwise”, Lina Kazantseva representative of Innovative Technology shared her impressions.
Also, everybody mentioned demo zone where leading companies of Georgia and the CIS have showcased their products: Game Art, One Bett, CounteR Cash System, Ftoros, Every Matrix, Metro Atlas, Gambee, Innovative Technology.
Smile Expo, organizer of Gaming Congress, has decided to supplement the basic program with exciting business tour in the casinos of Tbilisi. The next day after the event, everyone interested could visit such gambling establishments as “Adjara”, “Iberia”, “Shangri-La”. Manufacturers of the industry talked to management and marketing executives of the facilities, got to know the peculiarities and secrets of their work, got good advice and consultation on organization of gambling business in Georgia. Also, they had an opportunity not only to see gambling halls, but also to play there: the final destination of the tour was gambling house “Shangri-La”, Gold Sponsor of Georgia Gaming Congress, where business tour participants were suggested a highly topical entertainment program. All participants were satisfied with the business tour. “I really liked the event, and most importantly – it proved to be very useful for our project. From the perspective of organization everything was at the highest level. Casino business tour was also very fascinating and provided its participants with lots of new and interesting information and meetings. I am sure that our company will become a permanent participant of such events”, Kirill Alekseev, Project Manager Hololoto said.
Max Baev, representative of One Bett, also said lots of pleasant words about Georgia Gaming Congress, “We are grateful organizers for excellent event in hospitable Tbilisi. I listened to presentations on topics of interest to me and I was pleasantly surprised by the choice of high-quality speakers, as well as their good knowledge of subjects chosen. Thanks to this Congress our company has managed to make useful contacts and gain access to new development markets, the event was held in a very lively and friendly format. We hope for new meetings in not less interesting places!”
Smile Expo is grateful to everyone who joined the first Georgia Gaming Congress, and hopes that the event was beneficial for all its participants. We will be waiting for you in 2016 on the following second Georgia Gaming Congress!