Exclusive The Betting Coach: the interview with Stelios Eleftheriou – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Parimatch Cyprus in the occasion of Cyprus Gaming Show 2019

Stelios Eleftheriou, protagonist of global gambling and a speaker at Cyprus Gaming Show 2019, to help companies “take advantage of gaming opportunities and sports betting” in Cyprus

Cyprus Gaming Show celebrates its second day! After yesterday’s success, even today, the event dedicated to the world of gambling is preparing to record the sold-out at the Hilton Nicosia Hotel in Nicosia- Cyprus

The betting coach (wwwthebettingcoach.com), official media partner of the event, presents the protagonists of the Cyprus Gaming Show 2019!

Here is our exclusive interview with Stelios Eleftheriou – Parimatch Cyprus * and speaker of the event

Parimatch is a bookmaker of Ukrainian origin founded in 1996. It is a highly appreciated and influential company in the world gambing sector. Today it is also represented in Cyprus where it is considered one of the most promising and innovative leaders in the world of work and corporate culture.

The bookmaker offers a wide variety of sports bets such as soccer, athletics, baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, chess, cycling, darts, golf, handball, ice hockey, motorcycle sports, billiards, rugby, billiards and tennis.

In addition to innovative technologies and 25 years of international experience, the brand is synonymous with partnership, loyalty, mutually beneficial relationships between employees, TOP executives and market leaders.

Parimatch is the reliable partner for every occasion: sport, education, leisure, charity, innovation and responsible gambling. A team of professionals, a story of ambition and success!

Visit the website: https://parimatch.com.cy/

1 – Stelios Eleftheriou, CEO of one of the top regulated online operators in Cyprus and speaker for a day of Cyprus Gaming Show 2019. Reason for pride and presence among industry experts, what is your job and what was your path?

I joined Parimatch last year, as a Director and facilitated the class B licence process. Parimatch is new to Cyprus, but one of the most established and leading sports betting brands in CIS, operating for 25 years with over 2000 employees.

Before joining Parimatch, I held management positions in 3 different CySEC regulated brokers for 6 years.

The fundamental concept of regulation is the same.  It’s actually a good thing and why companies should be seeking regulation.  By being regulated you set yourself apart from the unregulated ones, as you demonstrate in practice that you are serious about working in a specific jurisdiction.

2 – The collaboration between you and Parimatch Cyprus started about two years ago.  From your experience, is it possible to draw a conclusion as to how important it is for the economy of Cyprus, that foreign companies begin to invest seriously in national gambling?

I am speaking as Director of Parimatch but also as a Cypriot, who loves seeing more business coming to his home country.  First of all, I am proud to represent such a huge company in Cyprus.  Cyprus is not strong on exports, so along with our tourism industry, we depend on providing services and with our mature Financial Services industry we became very strong in this area. Companies like Parimatch coming to Cyprus provide jobs, tax revenue, spend money on renting and buying property and more development to the whole business ecosystem.

Hopefully more companies join under NBA.  We at Parimatch believe in our company, so we are not afraid of competition.  In fact, competition is a good thing for the player, as the operators tend to provide more benefits in order to earn the player’s business.  If more companies come to be regulated in Cyprus it means the market in general is maturing which is good for everyone.

Government should support NBA with more resources, as the potential for established business coming to Cyprus is enormous.  In addition, the government should help NBA make its license more competitive.  We are currently lacking products and cannot compete with Malta. 

If the Cypriot license has the same products as the Maltese license, then the playfield will be levelled, and you would get many more big gaming companies moving to Cyprus. What does Malta have more than Cyprus? We have an already established retail forex industry, with all the associated services and the relevant human capital.

With the proper support by the government to the Cyprus regulators, we can grab a bigger pie of the gaming industry.

3 – The market, the laws and the new online frontiers for betting with many parameters yet to be defined. Where to improve and how to protect companies and players who decide to confront the sector?

The operators who would like to work in a regulated environment must abide by the following:

a. Be clear, fair, not misleading when it comes to their advertising and offerings to players.

b. Promote responsible gaming. 

c. Focus on the “entertainment” factor, rather on the “make easy money” factor. 

d. Give back to society in the form of various CSR projects.

Some operators might take a very aggressive marketing strategy, bending the rules and thinking that if they have made way more than the fine, then it’s all good.  But this is a very short-term strategy, because you signal to the regulator that you don’t care about the rules, so you get on their radar. If you keep violating rules, you might lose your license as well.

Secondly, It makes good business sense to be fair to your clients and show that you care about them, in practice, by enforcing responsible gaming processes.  Not because you are forced to do this by the regulator, but because it’s the ethical and right thing to do.

4 – Cyprus Gaming Show 2019, an important showcase for the game and for companies in Cyprus, a destination for enthusiasts and experts from all over the world. What do you expect from this third edition and how these events can change habits and concepts about the game among the population?

From the Cyprus Gaming Show 2019 I expect a fruitful and open discussion of ideas in terms of the current status of the industry, as well as the steps needed to follow, in order for our industry to mature and grow.

These events make the gaming industry appear more real, as operators have the opportunity to demonstrate transparency and openly discuss potential issues.  It’s also an opportunity for operators to clear any misconceptions about gaming, which was prevalent among the population.

5 – Advertising as a means of attracting new customers, in many countries of the world to be begin to ban it because it is considered a source of temptation for problem gamblers. Can gambling survive without advertising?

Definitely, gambling can survive without advertising.  Gambling has been around for hundreds of years in various forms. People were always attracted to the games of chance.  So you don’t really need much convincing to “sell” gambling products. 

If we are to talk about Cyprus specifically, we are exposed to various forms of gambling since a very young age.  Even when we go out to a restaurant, somone might walk in selling lottery tickets.  We usually buy scratch tickets, because we like the “high” of the chance of winning lots of money instantly, without effort and finding out in the next few seconds.  When we buy these scratch tickets, our kids are there so of course they want to scratch also, so we give them. 

Same goes for other forms of gambling available in lots of places like fairs and many other places with lots of people, such as the traditional “kazanti”.  Who has not played this?  In addition, there is a huge amount of offline betting shops, almost in every neighborhood.

So with gambling so engrained into our culture, it can definitely survive without advertising.

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