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Interview with Kriton Kounelakis, Bwin.Party Partners Team Manager

Interview with Kriton Kounelakis, Bwin.Party Partners Team Manager

It might seem to you we forgot about our dear casino representatives and moved on to software providers. The truth is you couldn't have gone further from the truth. To prove it, we've set off to meet another key man from this exciting industry. Sit back, relax and enjoy reading what Kriton Kounelakis, Team Manager at Bwin.Party has to say about his brand, their exciting promos, casino games, how they came to organize a great football match at Juventus Stadium, and much more.

1. Hi Kriton, how are you? Are you originally from Greece, as your name suggests? Tell us something about your homeland and current country. 

No one wants to leave their home country, especially when it is a beautiful and sunny place, however the UK and London more specifically, are definitely the best choices for someone who is looking to learn more about marketing. And especially for someone who enjoys working in the Online Gaming Sector.

2. Besides Electracade, 1x2 Gaming, Jadestone etc. game software providers, your brands are supplied with your own unique software, right? Can you tell us more about its games and which are the most popular ones? 

This is correct. Our Games Studio department has historically built some of the most popular games of our casino. At some point we were producing up to 1 new game a month and many of them became our "best sellers". Brands like Melon Madness, Loot'enKhamun, Kung Food and many others have been in the top of our charts for years after their launch.  

3. Party Casino is the one (out of 3 brands you're covering) with the lowest casino ranking, but the biggest number of complaints. Are you familiar with the reason causing such a situation? 

This is a situation that we are looking to address and improve. We have to hold our hands up and admit this is an area where we haven't paid enough attention to in the past. It is definitely our fault because we never really focused on being active in affiliate forums. To put this right, we have recently completed a comprehensive review of all complaints on your forum in relation to all of our brands. We believe that we now have addressed the majority of complaints, however please note that some issues are quite historic and therefore our options in these cases are limited.

4. partypoker is a very famous poker room (being in top 3 largest poker brands). It even has its own iOS and Android app. Is partypoker more popular over casino or sportsbook products? 

Although partypoker is indeed one of the most popular and successful brands in the history of poker, we have in recent times given greater emphasis on promoting our casino brand, Party Casino. Of course it is also worth noting, our group operates one of the biggest sports betting brands globally, bwin.

5. bwin and PartyGaming merged in March 2011. Since then till present, what benefits has it brought so far to both of the companies and especially the players? 

Product knowledge and platform migration have been the biggest benefits. bwin poker and bwin Casino players now get the benefits of a larger player pool in poker and a wider variety of games in casino (a legacy of the PartyGaming products), while on the sports side, partys­por­ts'­ ­cus­tomers can now enjoy bwin's far superior betting product.

6. Since you have been growing your casino sections fast, are you planning to add Microgaming, NetEnt and/or Playtech games (still most wanted ones) to your brands?

We already feature games from those providers you mentioned. And from many others. In the recent years our focus has been to expand our game offering and work with all the big game providers in the industry. We have moved from just a bit over 150 games couple of years ago, to over 400 these days.

7. Last June, bwin organised "Experience that money can't buy" competition - to play a football match in Juventus customised jerseys and on their stadium. AskGamblers was one of the winners chosen in the affiliate draw to participate in this fantastic event! Our guys had a lot of fun there with you. How was the whole event and experience for you? 

It is actually the best part of my job. Offering our business partners and our players the time of their lives based on the unique sponsorship privileges that our company enjoys. I had always considered that maintaining a good relationship sometimes requires a lot of effort. But when it pays off, the feeling can't be compared with anything. This event is exactly that. It took me three months from concept to the event date, but the feeling at the end of the day and the smile on everybody's faces will be in my memory forever.

8. Besides Juventus, bwin's featured partners are also RSC Anderlecht, Real Madrid and MotoGP. What do these partnerships mean considering your players? Is there going to be some competition or a draw related to these clubs, maybe, in the future? 

Apart from the association to those great sports brands, it is something that has definitely added prestige and creditability to our brands.  The sponsorships also provide us access to assets that we can use to treat our players and business partners with. The Play at Juventus event is just one example of this approach. Our VIP boxes at these clubs' stadiums are another perk of the sponsorships. Just visit our VIP boxes on a match day and you will find some happy bwin customers enjoying the game in one of the world's greatest sporting arenas in a way that would make anyone jealous: drinking their favourite wine, enjoying the food and with the best view in the stadium.

9. There is a special Jackpots section on bwin (and two other brands), showing current jackpot sums and there are all jackpot games listed. "The more you play, the higher the jackpot climbs". What are the chances of winning this marvelous prize and what was the biggest win in bwin so far (if you know)?

Last year a lucky winner pocketed a little over 6m Euros, it what turned out to be our biggest ever casino jackpot win. And one of the biggest in the history of the industry. The chances of winning these really depend on the kind of game you play and the bet amount. But what I can tell you for sure is that our casinos have paid out a lot of money to the players.

10. Gamebookers, which was a leading European sportsbook, also offers casino and it's also part of the big bwin.Party group. Do you feel like Gamebookers is a bit in the shadows beside two other giant brands, especially bwin? And - some players call Gamebookers "bwin's clone". So, what actually makes this brand different than two others and what advantages does it have over them? Why would players choose Gamebookers Casino over bwin or Party? 

It's always a tough decision when you have to prioritise one brand over another. And especially for me since gamebookers was the brand where I started my career at, back in 2006. However, in a group that operates so many good brands, these decisions to push one over the others, are very common. We had to analyse each market and player segment separately in order to decide which brand would be the best fit. And we are confident that we have made the right choice so that customers in every region can play their favourite games regardless of the brand we offer them.

11. There were rumours and even articles that another big company GVC Holdings intended to buy bwin.Party for 1.26 billion euros. This still hasn't happened. Is your company still up for sale on the markets?

The Board of formally recommended an offer to buy the Group from GVC on the 4thof September. We are now working with GVC to finalise the necessary documentation to put before shareholders and seek their approval for the acquisition, which will happen at an EGM towards the end of the year. Assuming shareholders vote in favour and we complete the necessary regulatory requirements for a deal of this size, we expect the acquisition to complete in the first quarter of 2016.

12. Thank you for this interview, Kriton! Tell us pleasewhat is your favourite song, before we say good bye. 

I would only tell you if you are into Greek folk music.

13. Hm... I think I'll pass then. :) We don't want to ruin all the perfect answers you've given us so far. And as for you our dear AskGamblers friends, hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did.

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