Connect with us

Eastern Europe

Exclusive Interview with Mihnea Popescu-Grisogono, Founder and President of Casino Life & Business Magazine



Mihnea Popescu-Grisogono interview EEGaming
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Our colleague, Szaló Réka managed to interview Mr. Mihnea Popescu-Grisogono who is currently the founder and the President of Casino Life & Business Magazine, the first and the most popular gambling magazine in Romania.

The magazine was two times nominated as “The Best Offline Gambling Magazine” in the world at the International Gaming Awards in London, UK and its Facebook profile has more than 12000 fans. Casino Life & Business Magazine is a media partner to the most important gaming trade fairs in the world including ICE – London, UK or G2E – Las Vegas, USA.

Mr.Popescu-Grisogono organized over 100 international events all over the world out of which more than 30% were dedicated to gaming. Mr. Popescu-Grisogono holds a Master of Science in Aeronautics and a NATO Senior Executive Master and he was elected as “Man Of The Year” by the American Biographical Institute in 2004 and included in the “Who’s Who Contemporary” catalogue.

First of all thank you very much for accepting this interview. I would like to ask you to shortly introduce yourself to our readers.

Popescu-Grisogono: I’m 53. I graduated the Airships Faculty and International Economic Relations Academy, both from Bucharest. Afterwards, I also graduated the National Defence College. I have a NATO Senior Executive Master and lots of other qualifications which I’m very proud of. I have a very nice family and I love what I do.

When and why you started working in this industry?

Popescu-Grisogono: I started 11 years ago while thinking where the big money was and how I could reach it. I designed the Casino Life & Business Magazine project from scratch and, year by year, I added some new ideas in order to make it more and more viable and more and more useful.

Which were the most difficult periods in your career and what do you consider your personal success?

Popescu-Grisogono: It is hard to say. But looking into the past I think the most difficult period was 8 years ago when I suffered a heart attack. While I was in the hospital a couple of my employees tried to steal my business and started another magazine using our database, our clients and everything. What is more, they interrupted all our contracts. My personal success is that I have survived both the heart attack and my employees’ attack.

As the founder and the President of Casino Life & Business Magazine, the most popular gambling magazine and the organizer of several international events what is your opinion about the gambling industry in general in Europe and particularly in Romania?

Popescu-Grisogono: I think the gambling industry suffers a lot. Even it is one of the most efficient industries, making all governments rich; it is used like a scapegoat. During elections usually everybody blames it. Afterwards everybody wants to get as much as they can out of it. The same goes for Romania.

What are the major problems, challenges this industry in Romania has to face and what solutions would you suggest for these problems?

Popescu-Grisogono: In this moment Romanian has one of the best gaming legislations in the world. The only problem for Romania is that the people are not rich enough. This leads us to the core: on one hand they can not play as much as they would want to and on the other hand the players want to get rich out of gambling. Gambling is for fun not for getting rich – this is very hard to understand by some.
Also, I’m sure some investors will say that taxes are very high which I totally disagree. If you want to take high advantages from this industry you also have to pay at the same level.

I don’t want to give any suggestions. We are a media vehicle and we want to keep it that way. There are a lot of consultants ready to give suggestions.

What do you think about the future of the Eastern European gambling industry, especially focusing on the markets you have more experience in?

Popescu-Grisogono: There are more points that have to be touched; and not only for the Eastern European countries. One is that all the countries should give full permission to gambling. Gambling is in the human nature. No one can stop it. So, if one country will try to stop or limit it, the players will go underground and the industry will become also dangerous. Another thing is that the investors should try to understand the changes which happen in today’s industry: the mixture between the land-based and the online gambling. Another point is linked to the legislations and regulations. My opinion is that countries should try to relax the regulations and this way they would collect more money out of this business. Last but not least there are the responsible gambling projects. Each country should have something like this.

What upcoming events is the company focusing on nowadays and how prepared is the company for these events?

Popescu-Grisogono: We live out of our new project so, we are ready to perform. We think on projects which are more and more useful to our readers and to our partners. We also propose to our partners news projects and new ideas, tailor-made for them. If they develop we will develop. It is a win-win situation.

Tell us please about the future plans, projects of Casino Life & Business Magazine.

Popescu-Grisogono: The market is global. So, this is our goal; to play in the first league. We started with media partnerships all over the world. After that we start granting the Casino International Awards at ICE. These days we are launching a TV channel, just for gambling events. In the near future we will be involving in international projects. But, most important: we will preserve our high quality products because only having high standards one can succeed.

What can you tell us about your readers? Which are the most popular topics they are interested in, and do you have a permanent communication with your readers? Do you consider this important?

Popescu-Grisogono: Our readers are smarter then others. They believe in us and we treat them well. We ask them 4-5 times a year about their opinion for the Awards Gala (local or international) and we value their answers. We do not cheat on them and they are loyal to us. Actually they are our most valuable asset. We have a drop box were they can leave their suggestions and we keep a permanent contact with them.

Who is your favorite actor or actress?

Popescu-Grisogono: Richard Gere and Salma Hayek

Where would you travel the most in Central Europe?

Popescu-Grisogono: Unfortunately Central Europe is not my favorite place to travel to. I prefer exotic destinations.

What is your hobby?

Popescu-Grisogono: Driving, gardening and above all Philosophy.

Eastern Europe

ORYX Gaming secures deal with Superbet in Romania

George Miller



ORYX Gaming secures deal with Superbet in Romania
Reading Time: < 1 minute


ORYX Gaming, a Bragg Gaming Group company, has struck a distribution deal with leading Romanian operator Superbet.

The agreement will give Superbet access to ORYX’s RGS library including proprietary ORYX content and titles from partnered studios such as Gamomat, Kalamba Games, Golden Hero and Givme Games, as well as newly-added CandleBets.

Via a single integration, the operator will also gain full access to ORYX Hub’s extensive library of 8,000+ casino games from 80+ premium providers as well as proprietary marketing and player engagement tools, such as real-time in-game tournaments and leaderboards.

Superbet operates an extensive retail network in Romania and launched its online brand in 2016.

The deal will see ORYX further bolster its presence in Romania where its casino offering has been proven popular with players of its operator partners, including Stanleybet, NetBet, PublicWin, GameWorld and Unibet.

ORYX is licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and the Romanian National Gambling Office (ONJN) and its content is certified or approved in 16 major jurisdictions.

Matevz Mazij, Managing Director of ORYX Gaming, said: “Going live with one of the most valuable operators in Romania is a strong statement for us and I am positive that this partnership will be very fruitful both in Romania and other markets that Superbet is planning to expand into.”

Adam Shaw, Online Managing Director of Superbet, said: “We want to provide our customers with the best casino experience through a variety of content. ORYX has a localised approach to games and a fantastic reputation for delivery of top quality games together with player engagement tools.

“We very much look forward to bringing the Superbet player base access to the wide range of content they offer, and we’re delighted to be working with them.”

Continue Reading

Eastern Europe

Greentube strengthens Romanian footprint with Baumbet integration

George Miller



Greentube strengthens Romanian footprint with Baumbet integration
Reading Time: < 1 minute


Greentube, the NOVOMATIC Interactive division, has further strengthened its presence in Romania after going live with Baumbet.

Launching via the Pariplay platform for the first time, a wide range of Greentube’s market-leading games are now available on, including Sizzling Hot TM deluxeBook of Ra TM deluxeLucky Lady’s Charm TM deluxe and Dolphin’s Pearl deluxePlenty on Twenty, a favourite among local players, has also gone live, as well as many more top-performing NOVOMATIC games tailored for the Romanian market.

Baumbet is a prominent name in Romania, with its retail operations spanning over 25 years and having built a strong online presence since the market opened in 2018. The integration marks another significant step for Greentube as the company continues to gain market share in the Eastern European territory, building on a period of rapid expansion after going live two years ago.

Michael Bauer, Greentube CFO/CGO, said: “Launching with such an established operator further demonstrates the high demand for our portfolio among local players. We expect our games will be an instant hit with Baumbet’s customers. Romania has quickly proven to be a strong market for Greentube as our classic titles and new, modern content continues to perform strongly.”

Daniel Cordos, Baumbet COO, said: “Greentube has more than lived up to its reputation for creating quality interactive games that stand the test of time both in the land-based market and online. Their diverse range of content is already ranking high with our players and will contribute to our goal of providing an online casino experience that outperforms the market.”

Continue Reading

Eastern Europe

Lack Of Professional Approach To Legalization Of Gambling

George Miller



Lack Of Professional Approach To Legalization Of Gambling
Reading Time: 6 minutes


The necessity of legalization of gambling in Ukraine has been the topic of interest for a long time. The new government, at the initiative of President Zelensky, has been trying to do this for almost a year now. Experts gave hundreds of comments about this process, journalists wrote dozens of articles, and deputies held many meetings of various working groups. In general, the relevant bill has undergone a number of changes and for a long time has been evolving step by step to an increasingly acceptable form: the general opinion of the market is that the law should be the same for everyone, everyone is ready to certain compromises, and even a high fixed cost of licenses is considered acceptable when the tax on gross gaming revenue (GGR) is abolished. But today the improvement of the bill hit up against the interests of the lottery pool of deputies, who are trying in every possible way to maintain the monopoly position of the lotteries and the associated gray schemes of work of other types of gambling. For this reason, the bill 2258-d on second reading runs the risk of entering the session hall with a number of fundamental problems that will simply nullify the positive effect of the legalization of gambling in Ukraine.

The motivation of the deputies from the lottery circle is obvious, they simply work off the corrupt rent of their patrons. But the motives of the deputies close to President Zelensky are not clear. In case of collapse of legalization or failure to get the expected results, this initiative will turn into a pile of stones that will be thrown at the President by both the opposition and other enemies without hesitation. Especially considering the fact that the President took this issue under his personal control.

Two main factors have caused the current unfavorable situation regarding the legalization of gambling in Ukraine: 1) the subjectivity of certain influence groups (strongly represented by the lottery pool of deputies), and 2) an exclusively theoretical understanding of the mechanism of work and specific features of the gambling business, which can be observed in the statements made by the head of the relevant committee, Daniil Getmantsev. Thus, instead of a broad discussion with future gambling operators, which could contribute to the development of a realistic draft law, we get a substitute for lottery “wishlist”, and an ordinary incompetence.

It will take more than one article to describe all the mistakes of legalization of gambling “in the Ukrainian style”. But nevertheless, the most striking moments can be singled out, without the resolution of which all the previous work will go down the drain.

So, the biggest problem is that the work on the relevant law is carried out without regulating the tax aspect of the organization of gambling. This approach may result in gambling operators paying taxes of 50-60% of profits for doing business legally. In this case, legalization will remain only on paper, as well as the long-awaited income to the treasury. Therefore, it is now extremely important to start a broad discussion on the tax burden for the gambling business. Since the budget of Ukraine needs fast money, and setting up an online monitoring system to track gross gaming revenue (GGR) requires considerable amount of time and specialist training, it would be logical to keep high license fees, but abolish the GGR tax. To understand the numbers, we want to remind you that for one license for 5 years, gambling operators in Ukraine will have to pay (ed. – take into account currency rate fluctuations): a casino – from $5.8 million to $20 million, depending on the number of rooms in the hotel; bookmakers – more than $21 million; lottery distributors – $14.7 million; gambling rooms – $145 thousand; online casinos – $2.4 million. At the same time, legislators plan to establish the GGR tax in the range of 18-25%, in spite of the bill 2713-3, which abolishes the tax on gross gaming revenue (GGR).

In general, world experience provides a choice between two options – either a high license fee or a GGR tax. More precisely, with a GGR tax a license fee may be levied, but then its amount is set at a very low level. In fact, a high fixed license fee is a tax on gross revenue paid in advance. Here are some examples from world experience.

In Britain, for example, a one-time fee for applying for a gambling license is €5,730, and a staff/ management license is about £330. The head of a gambling establishment is also obliged to pay an annual fee to ensure that his current license continues to be valid. The annual license fee depends on the gross turnover of the company. Gambling in England is subject to two taxes: 15% tax on total gaming revenue, and 18% income tax.

In the Netherlands, taxation on the organization and conduct of gambling is also quite high. Casino operators must pay a 29-percent gross revenue tax on games. In addition, they must also contribute 1.5% to the development of the gambling association and 0.25% to the fund against drug addiction.

Swedish casinos are obliged to pay a tax of 18% of their total gaming revenue. For doing business in the country you also need to purchase a license. It can cost from 6 to 70 thousand euros.

In Malta, the gaming tax makes up 5% of the revenue generated from certain gaming services during the relevant tax period. The tax on gaming devices in Malta varies from 12.5% to 30% for different types of licenses. Malta gambling management requires a company applying for a gaming service license to have a minimum share capital from 40 thousand euros to 100 thousand euros, depending on the type of gambling establishment in terms of profitability.

In France, the rules for calculating tax rates are as follows: the gambling turnover tax is 8.5%, and income tax is additionally paid at the standard rate of 28%.

In addition to taxes, all casinos also pay certain fixed fees. So, the budgets of municipalities on a daily basis receive 12 euros from the first roulette that opens and 6 euros from each subsequent roulette that opens.

Thus, the tax on GGR is usually used in those countries where there is no license fee or it is symbolic. In most countries where gambling is legalized, the authorities understand that gambling brings sufficient revenues to the budget, but it requires an adequate tax base.

To introduce the GGR tax, an optimal monitoring system is needed. It shouldn’t be overloaded, the way our parliamentarians do this, striving to stuff everything possible and impossible into monitoring. This approach is an evidence of a superficial and purely theoretical knowledge of the authors of such ideas. For the GGR tax, the most important thing is to control the entry and exit of funds.  For example, if 2 million UAH was brought during quarter, and 1.8 million UAH was given away as wins, then out of 200 thousand the GGR tax will be calculated. Everything is extremely simple. It is better to transmit information in the online monitoring system in non-personalized form and in a package, rather than in real time format and with all the data about the player, because otherwise, any halting will lead to an interruption in the operator’s work or to an unintentional violation of the law. But until such a simple and effective system is offered, it is better to use a high license rate and not charge the GGR tax.

If the gambling business is nipped in the bud, then the budget will not get any money. Therefore, the philosophy of the attitude to this type of business needs to be changed, it is necessary to create an adequate tax base and equal conditions for all operators. In response, the state will receive both substantial revenues to the budget and substantial amount of money for charity. Historically, gambling money goes to support social projects. For example, in France, theaters were built on taxes from the organizers of gambling establishments, and a famous opera house was built in Baden-Baden (Germany) on the tax revenues from the gambling industry. In the Netherlands, the representatives of the gambling industry sponsor the football championship, and in Canada – the annual stage of Formula 1 auto racing. In the USA, casinos finance basketball and hockey clubs.

In many countries, the distribution of tax revenues from the gambling business goes under special budget items. In Denmark, 65% goes directly to the Ministry of Culture and is directed to the development of sports and cultural life. In Finland, profits from lotteries and casinos are directed through the Ministry of Education to finance the development of national culture, and state revenues from betting on horse races are used to stimulate the development of national horse breeding and to conduct equestrian competitions.

For centuries, the authorities of various states have been convinced that human passions, including excitement, can’t be eradicated and prohibited, and therefore the only adequate solution is to find a reasonable compromise between the state, business and player. Many European countries have accepted such a philosophy a long time ago, and it’s time for Ukraine to finally take this path by creating a competitive market that will: a) be attractive to foreign investors; b) create hundreds of thousands of well-paid jobs, and c) replenish the budget with tax payments.

Continue Reading

Global Gaming Industry Newsletter – Weekly Digest (sent every Wednesday)

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from European Gaming Media and Events:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here. Read more about European Gaming Media and Event's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Subscribe to our News via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to our news and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Notice for AdBlock users

We are constantly showing banners about important news regarding events and product launches. Please turn AdBlock off in order to see these areas.