Chief executive, Elektroncek Group

IGG: How do you feel Interblock performed in 2005?
TZ:  2005 was a decisive and very successful and satisfying year for interblock, not only due to our record year on year growth of over 130 per cent but also the successful partnership we established with Aristocrat Leisure.

IGG: And what do you think 2006 will hold for the company?
TZ:   2006 is already shaping up as another record year. We will be able to employ the financial leverage our new partnerships has given us and begun to restructure the entire Eletroncek group of companies, dividing our core business of manufacturing and R & D from our distribution activities, which are already benefiting from out new partner’s global distribution reach.
IGG: What about your own management style and philosophy?  How would you describe that?
TZ:   Interblock is totally customer focused and driven and our remarkable global growth over the past five years is testament to the effectiveness of this philosophy.

      However, Interblock’s success is also a reflection of the success of its customers. This success is based purely on the Interblock’s painstaking and rigorous market research and R & D, coupled with a   customer driven sales, service and support stratagie and structure which has enabled the Interblock brand to become recognized.

IGG:   Are there any mistakes you have made – and learned from – or any things you could have done better in your career?  Any regrets?
TZ:  Of course there have been mistakes but our philosophy is that each mistake simply provides a learning experience to enrich our future knowledge bank. When you strive for perfection, and reflect on the past there are many things which could have been done better, faster, or perhaps differently. Regrets – one whatsoever, the company’s results speak for themselves.

IGG: In what ways is today’s industry different from that  of 10 years ago?
TZ:   Certainly electronics have enhanced player enjoyment and delivered vast productivity gains to the casino industry – both back and front of house.

IGG: In what ways will the global casino industry in 10 years time be different from that of today?
TZ:   If only we knew the answer to that one. What we do know is that despite the rapid growth rate of multiplayer gaming, it presently forms a very small segment of the casino market, so the scope for growth is significant.

IGG:   Which do you think will be the next big markets to open up to casino gaming?
TZ:   Certainly Asia is emerging, as are a number of the European regions. Interblock holds certain views on new markets, growth markets and emerging markets, but these views will be revealed as we unroll our stradagies over the next five years.

IGG:   What are your favourite trade shows of the year?  Which is the best for business?
TZ:   Regional trade shows are an integral participation plank in the industry but are a very effective platform for Interblock to listen to its customers. Each of the major trade show has its own flavour, and character.

IGG:   How do you cope with the rigorous international travel schedule that your role demands?
TZ:   It requires a certain discipline to manage the significant demands of international travel, but of course it’s all part of the learning process.

IGG:   When the business of the day is done, what do you to relax?
TZ:   At Interblock, the business of the day is a 24/7 proposition and there are no boundaries. Without exception all our committed professionals continue to push the envelope and I guess our relaxations is when we have the time to pause and reflect bon our achievements.

IGG:   If you weren’t working in this industry what would you be doing?
TZ:   I can’t imagine not working in this industry. It’s a lifestyle.


THE Pacific Congress on imaging, held in Macau by River City Group at the end of February, was the first internet gaming conference in south-east Asia.
      There were around 120 participants from all over the world as Asia – and especially China – is seen as a major future growth area.
      Jason Chan of First Betting said that his company’s growth in Asia is over 20 per cent per month. Grace Leung of the University of Hong Kong and consultant Pieter Remmers spoke about problem gambling. The former stated that 68 per cent of  young Asians have bet on soccer.
      David Carruthers of Bet on Sports reckoned there are now around 2,000 online gaming companies, most of them illegal and the legal ones in small domains like Gibraltar and Malta. “These will be reduced to around 20 significant players in five years,” he said. “Asia is the biggest growth market and everyone is aiming at it. ”
      Rachel Cronin of Chexx Inc and Gabrielle Gadiolet of Pacific Network Services spoke about moving money between customers and operators in a secure way, while Jeffrey Hass of on game Network stressed the importance of context, language and cultural relevance in global gaming. “About five million punters are online in Asia and less than 30 per cent speak English, so designing sites to suit local circumstances is important,” he said.

      Tim Lambe of Easy Bets said that soccer is by far the number one for sport betting in Asia, followed by horse racing and boxing. He also predicted a ‘great future’ in mobile gaming, although Gareth Wong Gambond argued there was : “no point in having the best gambling site in the world if connectivity is a problem. ”
      Super Resorts Macau’s Jeff Dunham spoke of the pitfalls to be avoided by companies setting up shop in Asia and Andre Wilsenach of the Alderney Gaming Control Commission spoke about the many different standards of regulation in different parts of the world. “Some have a token license and no rules, some give the perception of good regulation with no enforcement and some are dictatorial, intrusive and expensive. ”
      John Raczak of Autumn Light Media explained how to run a poker tournament, followed by Jose mari Ponce of Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, which holds the only license in the Philippines (and possibly Asia) to operate gaming. Microgaming’s John Docherty covered software considerations for the industry.
      Operators are looking increasingly to Asia, especially China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and Korea. Computers are now more available to Asians. Millions are online and South Korea is the most wired country in the world. Both software and hardware are getting better and banks are realising that the industry has cash flow and are adapting to it.


ONE story that caught Stake Out’s bleary eye this month was Game bookers offering to make up the difference in German football star Michael Ballack’s current wages at Bayern Munich and the £ 21,000-a-week allegedly offered by Chelsea in an attempt to keep him at the German club. And get the company name on the kit, obviously.
      The real winner in the deal, of course, is Michael Ballack, who is now pretty much guaranteed to earn £ 121,000 a week whatever happens. Stake out is worried exactly how he will mange on such a pittance. Maybe he could get a job in the online gaming industry instead now Nigel Payne has ruled himself out of the PartyPoker job?

STAKE OUT has had a few rough job interviews in its time, but employment-seekers at a Galaxy StarWorld casino hotel job fair in Macau got slightly more than they bargained for, as a stampede put some unlucky candidates in hospitals.

      About 2,000 hopefuls were crammed up against security barriers waiting for the 10 am opening. When the doors finally opened, people towards the front were pushed to the ground as those at the back surged forward to get in. ambulances had to carry off several applicants for examination.
     “When you have an event like this, you learn for the next time,”  said Galaxy Casinos chief executive Anthony Carter in possibly the understatement of the century. “We are pleased to hear that the recruitment fair has been so well-received,” he whopped, ignoring the whole hospitalized candidates thing.
      But what caused the mad panic, turning seemingly ordinary people into eye-gouging, hair-pulling mercenaries?  According to one local press report, people were ‘enticed by the offer of free pens and calculators. ’
      Stake out has secured its stationery cupboard just in case.

It's not often that Stake Out has to choose between going to the Oscars or a night indulging in high stakes Texsas Hold’Em. In fact, it’s generally a toss up between scraping enough together for half a pint of warm lager in the Nag’s Head or putting its last 20p on the nearest three-legged horse, but actress-turned –poker –star Jennifer Tilly had that very choice this year.
      Quite admirably, she eschewed the red carpet in favour of the green felt at the 2006 National Heads Up Poker Championship in Las Vegas on Oscards weekend.

      It’s the first time in 15 years she hasn’t attended Oscar parties in Hollywood, though some wags might claim it ironic since it’s almost that long since she was in a decent film.
      Tilly may think twice next year though. She was knocked out in the first round. Never mind. At least Stake Out has resisted the temptation to shamelessly print a picture of the lovely Ms Tilly. (Maybe, but I haven’t – Ed.)