Friday, 19th of August 2016, Budapest – The organizers are proud to announce the newest confirmed speaker, Stjepko Čordaš, who will be among the keynote speakers of the “Hot topics of the online gaming industry in the Balkans” panel at the Central and Eastern European Gaming Conference(CEEGC 2016) which will take place in Budapest on the 20th of September 2016.
Stjepko was born on June 1, 1987 in Metković and has attended primary and secondary school in Mostar. He later moved on and be obtained the Undergraduate degree in Service Management from RIT Croatia, Croatia, Graduate degree in Law and Economics from CEU, Hungary.
His passion for technology and innovation which pushed him to NSoft and as he explained in a recent interview in the EEGReport Magazine, which you can read in full here, “If we are looking in the future, online and sports betting is really the opportunity for this market. As more connectivity is introduced, more punters are becoming aware of the different approaches and more opportunities the operators have to innovate.”
Zoltan Tundik(EEGReport Magazine): Since Bosnia and Herzegovina, a Southeastern Europe located on the Balkan Peninsula is included in definitions of Eastern Europe or histories of Eastern Europe, we would like to know more about the developments of the online gambling. What is the current status of the Bosnian market in terms of licenses for online gambling software providers and are you running into difficulties at entering new markets?
Stjepko Čordaš: Betting industry in Bosnia and Herzegovina has a somewhat strained relationship with the government. Up to last year (2015) most of the market was unregulated and the government really did not know how to approach the issues. With the current legislation in place, online gambling has been finally legalized, but with severe restrictions. Before going into details, it is important to note that the complex national system is causing fractures in how gambling (in truth, every industry) is being dealt with. First we have Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is a country, where you have the first layer of the government and laws. For example, the VAT law is regulated on the country level. Then you have two entities – Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republic of Srpska. These two entities, de facto, behave like two separate states. Most, if not all, of the legal framework is separate and these have two separate governments. One of the points where there are differences is the law on betting and gambling. While Republic of Srpska has a governing law covering this matter for a few years now, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina just approved their law last year. While both entities laws are somewhat restrictive, one in Republic of Srpska is more open, with cheaper licenses and easier procedures. The licenses are valid only on the territory of one entity, so any operator that wants to cover the entire country has to have two separate companies and two separate licensing. This can cause additional operational expenses, as well as, introduce complexities into how operators run their companies.
When we go back to the recent legal changes in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as already mentioned, online gambling has been legalized. However, licenses are quite expensive – where the operator company has to have at least 750.000,00 EUR of founding capital, 400.000,00 EUR in guarantees and around 100.000,00 EUR in legal fees for the actual license. Also, there are renewal fees every year. In addition to this, the company has to connect to the central server of the Tax authority and send each and every ticket to the Tax authority in real time. This part of the requirement is especially troubling, since Tax authority servers and software do not have capacity to accept this amount of data in such short time and often their server is basically DDOS-ed by their own requirement.
Furthermore, RNG games are illegal online with the current legislation. Although, the idea was to limit virtual games (for example, this would be NSoft’s Lucky Six or Greyhound Races), the language of the provision makes it seem that all RNG games are illegal online. Which of course makes no sense, since most of the online casino games are RNG based.
Other than this the government introduced fees on players, where for sports betting players have to pay a 5% fee on their bets, and every prize larger than 50 EUR is taxed with a tax rate of 10%. There are plans to introduce the 5% fee for every type of game and to introduce tax rate for any prize.
So, as can be read the current legislature in Bosnia and Herzegovina is swimming against the current of the recent industry developments and at least from my perspective is severely limiting the open market economy in gambling industry. This is why NSoft is mostly focusing on gaining more international clients. A bit more than 60% of our current business is international as of this moment. The target is to have this number to at least to 80% by the end of this year.
Zoltan Tundik(EEGReport Magazine): As we know you were born and raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina and your first touch with the iGaming world started back in 2013 when you took on a Project Manager role at NSoft, a company at which you are currently in the role of CEO. How much has the iGaming industry evolved in the recent 3 years, but especially have you seen significant growth in Eastern and Central Europe recently?
Stjepko Čordaš: Well, this is rather an interesting question – especially since in the last three years the iGaming industry is seeing a new renaissance. Web and web based technologies are finally enabling faster delivery to operators, easier communication with the punters, real time access do data and habits. In this sense, NSoft now has an edge. Since the start of the company some eight years ago, NSoft started all development on pure web technologies. At that point of time this was rather exhausting because other frameworks had already solved many issues and development in them was faster and easier. It didn’t help that most of the clients we had at that point were retail based. So web technologies and retail caused a lot of frustration then. However, now when the operators recognized that you have to be everywhere in order to stay competitive, web technologies are the bridge that enables this. Punters want seamless experience in retail (shop and terminal), online and mobile and the only way you can provide this are web technologies. So, a lot of issues that a lot of the software operators are now facing, have been already solved by NSoft, which can be seen in our Seven platform. Seven platform enables this seamless experience where the operator can control their entire operation from a single interface – be it retail or online environment.
When we look to the markets, Central Europe is a more conservative market with higher barriers to entry – the operators are well established, the punters have clear habits. However, Eastern Europe is just now experiencing the possibilities. One market in particular, Romanian market, is the current ‘gold rush’ setting. Romania has a lot of online infrastructure, there are a lot of people, market is being regulated, there are a lot of operators – which means that there is a lot of opportunities for us.
Be sure to save the date and secure your ticket to the CEEGC 2016 Budapest, which will be held on the 20th of September 2016 at the Hilton Westend City Budapest Hotel in order to hear the most recent updates about the Bosnian market in the “Hot topics of the online gaming industry in the Balkans” panel which will be moderated by Rita Gyaraki(GamblingCompliance).
The “Hot topics of the online gaming industry in the Balkans” panel is set to start at 10:45 AM(Budapest local time).
The conference provides an efficient way of meeting new and prospect clients in the special networking session and sit down lunch.
Special reports and exclusive updates will be given by the top 20 speakers of the industry and the event is limited to 150 delegates to maximize the engagement among the peers.
The tickets can be purchased at an Early Bird rate of €200 by the 19th of August on the following link: https://ceegc.eu/2016/tickets/
Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us on +40 735 559 234 or by mail on [email protected].
WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU IN BUDAPEST!