E-Service’s managing director accepts he’ll be a “lifer” in the amusements business, but worries about excessive regulation.
How did you first get involved with the amusements industry?
I drifted into the industry some 24 years ago, taking a position servicing credit card debiting systems with Powerhouse Payment Technologies.
During the early 1990s Powerhouse and Eurocoin of London formed a joint venture partnership and established Payment Systems KFT in Budapest. The business ethos was to support everything coin-operated.
I leapt at the opportunity of relocating to Budapest and managing the business on a day-to-day basis,
I look back on this time with very fond memories and see this as the cornerstone of my career in the gaming and amusement industry.
Why? What attracted you to this sector?
Since my early teens I always had an interest in electronics and how things work. Upon arriving in Budapest I found the only equipment to be delivered was a couple of AWPs. I spent several weeks taking things apart and understanding how this equipment worked. I became very interested in the technology, especially coin mechanisms – they held enormous intrigue. During the mid-1990s travelling central and eastern Europe I was fortunate to meet many influential people within the industry who have remained good friends to this day. It was during this time I realised I had joined a great industry and that I was probably going to be a lifer.
Do you think it has changed much since then?
Changes aplenty during the last 24 years – the adoption of the latest technology has delivered a very different experience for the machine player. The advent of the Internet continues to offer new opportunities and challenges for the industry and
I would say we are most certainly a global business rather than regionally segregated as in years gone by.
What are the biggest positive factors for the sector right now – the drivers of growth and development?
Ticket printing and alternative cash in/out payment methods are high on most operators’ and manufacturers’ agendas. Digital equipment, VLTs and sports betting are all vying for whatever disposable income is left in our pockets. Obviously the quality and money-earning potential of the digital content is the major driving force for all sectors of the business.
And what are the negative ones – the obstacles to growth?
The nanny state emerging throughout Europe is quite concerning. I’m all for protecting the vulnerable, but I feel that overzealous regulatory reform is prohibiting expansion and innovation within the industry.
Looking at your whole career, what do you reckon was your smartest move (large or small)?
Establishing E-Service on 1 January 2004.
And your dumbest one?
Placing my trust in the wrong people.
Where do you hope you’ll be, professionally, in ten years’ time?
I hope to see E-Service entering its 20th year of trading with an expanded workforce across Europe.
And finally – if you’d never embarked on this career, what other line(s) of work would you have liked to pursue?
As most people know, I’m a bit of a golfer. I would like to think that if I wasn’t involved with the gaming and amusement industry I could maybe have earned a living from being connected with golf in one way or another.
Born: 1 April 1968
Education: Huddersfield Polytechnic – HNC mechanical design and engineering, Wakefield Technical College – HNC microprocessor implementation and electronic engineering
1984-90 research and development technician, Hotwork Development
1990-94 general manager, Powerhouse and PSK, Budapest
1994-97 export manager (central and eastern Europe), Deith Leisure
1997-2004 business development director, Micro Electronic Services
2004-present managing director, E-Service
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