The situation we are all currently in is quite specific and challenging on many levels. However, life cannot and must not stop, which is why I am very happy with the fact that this November, and with the institutional support from the Serbian Gaming Authority and the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Serbia, the first SEE Gaming Business Forum was held.
This is the first regional event covering all business aspects and interest spheres of the gaming and betting industry – from regulations, business strategies, responsible implementation, all the way to application of technological solutions. It is important to emphasize that the forum focused especially on the Southeastern European market.
MaxBet group was the platinum sponsor of this forum, gathering renowned world and regional industry names, regulatory bodies and technological companies. Of course, and in accordance with safety measures and the “new normal” reality, the entire event was held online, via Zoom.
The director of the Serbian Gaming Authority Zoran Gasic opened the forum, while the speakers were the representatives of the Malta Gaming Authority and the European Gaming and Betting Association. Also participating were all the well known international and local brands.
The participants had the opportunity to follow four panels, where the lecturers at two of the panels were the representatives of MaxBet – Sanja Isakov and Minja Bolesnikov.
The first panel, where the lecturer was MaxBet’s external consultant Minja Bolesnikov, focused on regulatory changes and harmonization within the European Union, in the area of gaming and betting. The second panel emphasized digital reality and best business models and strategies in the digital age. One of the lecturers at this panel was Sanja Isakov, MaxBet online casino business specialist. The third panel covered the topic of responsible gaming and social themes, while the forum closed with the fourth panel focusing on the relationship between technology and gaming and betting, as well as the options for overcoming challenges in the field.
I believe that the exchange of opinions, between people with great experience and knowledge in a particular area, is of the utmost importance for the development and overall quality of business. That is why we supported this forum with great enthusiasm, a forum I have no doubt will become a regular and mandatory destination for all wishing to improve their activities within the industry.
There are things that we can influence, and others we cannot. It is important to be able to make a distinction between those two.
The postponement of an exhibition we planned for carefully and for a long time, that was to take place on 10 July on Science day and the anniversary of the birth of Nikola Tesla, was one of those things we had no influence over. To put it simply, we accepted the fact that the time wasn’t right and that the safety of our fellow citizens was above else.
Truthfully, I felt very bad because of the postponement, but I also promised my team that we would not give up on the exhibition and that we would wait for the right time. That time came at the end of last month, as soon as the right and safe conditions were realized.
So, on 25 September, in Balkan cinema, the “Another world” exhibition was officially opened, where twelve artists tested the boundaries of the real and virtual world while simultaneously asking the important questions of these contemporary times: where does man end and technology begin? Which of our experiences are actually ours and which are the product and consequence of the world we live in? How do we and our relationships survive in a world that daily flows deeper into the unreal?
Their artwork is fresh, not dictated by rules and such that make us want to ask ourselves a thousand and one question, which is why it is my great honor to have had the Foundation and Balkan cinema be their hosts.
I believe that this exhibition truly was a portal into another world – a world originating through technological development and a world, I’m sure, that has many surprises and challenges in store for us.
Some times are more challenging than others. I think that it is safe to say that the last 6 months were extremely challenging due to COVID-19. The state of emergency, quarantine, working from home, fearing for our health…
To remain on the path of humaneness and solidarity during such times, is a must. This is why I am proud to emphasize the fact that MaxBet’s humanitarian team, helmed by Goran Samolovac, successfully and safely organized voluntary blood donations during the state of emergency.
All was organized while in accordance with the guidance issued by the Institute of Public Health and the Blood Transfusion Institute. Aside from disinfecting the premises where the activity took place, we also took additional preventive measures in order to ensure the safety of all participants, and I used this opportunity to renew my regular blood donor status.
Goran Samolovac, the organizer of MaxBet’s humanitarian guerilla and the man at the front of our multiple voluntary blood donations, has taken a step further this year – he will be a participant at the three day long Counseling with the organizers of voluntary blood donations and voluntary blood donors.
Therefore, we are entering the new season resolved to expand and bring this type of humanitarian cause up to an even higher level. Because Life is blood.
The world change is unstoppable. Old rules do not apply anymore, what once was is no longer and will never again be. Digital transformation is not a choice but a fact all around us, changing our habits and our day to day. I believe that this is only the beginning, that the world will even more visibly and intensively change and I know that I am not alone in this belief.
In all of this, humanity has but two options. To lament over the old times, or to adapt to the new one – making an effort to get to know, understand and accept and live, in the best way possible, the new reality that is here to stay. We choose the second option. That is why it’s no surprise that, without a second thought, we equipped Balkan cinema with VR equipment which, aside from everything else that it is, represents a new artistic medium.
There is no innovation where art will not find its place, and this is clearly visible with virtual reality where man and machine are connected, both in abstract and real terms, opening opportunities for completely new ways in which art is consumed. Also important, as new media artists have stated, it was only with the introduction of digital technologies and expansion of space and image possibilities, that artist where given the opportunity to step into the endless spaces of their imagination and to taste the freedom of creation in completely new dimensions.
This year, documentary features enthusiasts had the opportunity to enjoy and experience, in a special way, five features from the VR selection. Four authors – Jan Kounen, Diego Kompel, Ana Knezevic and Milad Tangshir approached virtual reality as an artistic medium by using all of its capacities, and visitors where able to experience these features through Balkan cinema’s VR equipment, at Balkan cinema. Documentary film enthusiasts where able to get familiar with the unique work functioning within the virtual reality world.
We are thankful to the Beldocs festival for entrusting the Sasa Marceta foundation and Balkan cinema with their VR selection which, we believe, will soar even higher in the following years, captivating even more film lovers.
Art cannot be put in a mold, cannot be guided by rules, or framed. That is why the fact that, at the end of August, we opened the doors of Balkan Cinema to the artists shaping the local street art scene, is so important to me. Their art initially begins on the streets, but these days it was to be seen on the walls of Balkan cinema.
After the pause created by the situation we are all familiar with, the cinema was again pulsating with a specific energy – the energy of creation through the project “Balkan live”. For two days, street artists painted canvases, panels and the walls of Balkan cinema, and all interested citizens were welcomed to witness the creation process. The work created confirms just how interesting this scene is, a scene that has existed here for several decades and that is visibly vital, well organized and relevant. The urban spirit of street art develops together with the spirit of the city, which is why this branch of contemporary art is an ideal way to capture current emotions and the souls of people in time and space.
We believe that with this project we have taken a few more steps forward in terms of promoting those artists who show their talent and creativity in an innovative and fresh way. Because art can freely grow and develop only through the visions of innovators and new generations, to whom the Saša Marčeta Foundation and Balkan Cinema will always, with great interest, offer their space and support.
September is an important month – the month of new projects, new ideas and the new, fall season. This is why I am especially happy with the fact that the MaxBet online team has exceptionally sailed into September. From now on, our online players will have the privilege of enjoying the games of the leading gambling provider – BetGames.TV.
Why is this important? Because BetGames.TV is one of the most regulated providers of services within the live gaming sector, with license issued by multiple jurisdictions, including UGC, MGA and Italy as well as various South African gambling authorities, with pending certificates from Sweden and Colombia. Their games are authentic and innovative and I have no doubt that MaxBet players will enjoy discovering their specifics.
I believe this to be the beginning of a productive collaboration between us and BetGames.TV, who recognized MaxBet to be a reliable and high quality partner.
The main idea that leads us is providing the best playing experience, and our newly formed partnership with BetGames.TV represents a huge step towards the improvement of that idea.
A man’s freedom lies not only in his right to freely express his opinions and desires, but first and foremost in the right and possibilities for a man to decide with sovereignty on all matters concerning his life.
Josip Broz Tito
At MaxBet Group the month of May has become known, almost traditionally, for the celebration of a very specific date – May 25th, once known as Youth Day. It is on that date that we get together at different Marshal Casinos around Serbia where we give a toast in honour of the Yugoslavia we loved.
Sometimes people wonder how is it that I, who always looks ahead and into the future, can feel so nostalgic about something that once was and will never be again. I am not sure if the explanation is quite simple or very complicated, but if I was to try and explain myself it would sound something like this:
I am Saša Marčeta. I was born in 1973.
Growing up my life was marked by my humble, hardworking parents who taught me the value of hard work and the meaning of earning money. My childhood was simple and carefree.
Some would say that all childhoods are carefree, regardless of the decade they take place in. I am not sure that I can agree with that. I believe that the fact that I grew up at a time where the acceptance of differences and the faith in goodness and honour was emphasized, was extremely important for me and my view of the world.
To be a young person in Tito’s time meant accepting people as brothers, regardless of their origin or faith.
To be a young person in Tito’s time meant believing that security exists.
To be a young person in Tito’s time meant having the famous passport that could take you anywhere on the planet. And you would go and see and meet and learn. You would be, then, free. And for me freedom is imperative.
To be a young person in Tito’s time meant being part of the world.
So, don’t ask why I choose to keep alive the memory of a time of red kiosks, the Zastava 750 car, the TV character Bane Bumbar and the famous red passport.
Yes, I believe that I am a modern man, constantly looking towards the future and cheering on every improvement and technological advancement.
And yes, without feeling guilty I allow myself to feel nostalgic about a time that’s gone and will never come back; a time that left a strong mark on me.
It is not for nothing that we insist on and emphasize the word family. It is a well known fact that we consider all our employees to be part of a family we care about and invest into. But, the story does not end there.
MaxBet Group is not only a system that functions as a family, but individual families are intertwined with the system. As per our statistics a 15% of all MaxBet employees have a family member also employed with the Group. Why is this important? Because I believe that the fact that our employees want to recommend their work atmosphere to their loved ones speaks volumes about the Group. It is my opinion that those moments further strengthen the relationship between employer and employees. What I do know for certain is that of this I am extremely proud.
When speaking about families I must mention something that makes me even prouder. A 29% of all MaxBet employees have welcomed a child during their engagement with MaxBet Group. We all know that an addition to the family is an extraordinary thing. However, it is also something often postponed until a “better time” comes, mainly due to the unreliability of a current work situation and fear that a child will come during a time of uncertainty, when plans for the future are hard to make. The fact that our employees feel safe and that they know their new and growing families will also feel safe within MaxBet is to me a strong sign that we are on the right path:
A path that recognizes and honors true values. A path on which every individual feels safe and ready to plan their future and the future of their primary family within the MaxBet family.
We at MaxBet group have a special way we view our relationship with our employees and players. We see all of our workers and their families as members of our MaxBet family. Furthermore, we consider our players as extended MaxBet family.
The task of keeping our extended MaxBet family safe and sound has become much harder. At the beginning of March, Serbia saw its first case of coronavirus. That was more than enough for us to start with first measures of prevention. Those measures included intensive disinfection procedures and frequent cleaning of MaxBet locations and educating employees about what to do to protect themselves.
When Serbian government announced the beginning of state of emergency on March 15th, we knew it was time for additional measures. All employees who can work from home were sent home. Workers whose jobs demand working outside of their homes were organized in shifts. We shortened work hours and included even more intensive disinfection procedures, and all employees that are a part of endangered groups were no longer working. All of these measures came natural to us, our management and all employees at MaxBet.
Still, the virus continued to spread in Serbia. That is why we decided on a move that changes all – on March 22nd we closed all of our betting locations.
Was it easy to make this decision? No.
Was it clear that this move will affect our profit? Yes.
Did we know that this is the only right way in the fight against coronavirus? Yes.
We achieved our goal in preventing further spread of the virus on our locations. But this move brought along a new fear among our workers – fear of losing their jobs. In these situations, those fears cannot be avoided. That is why we made another, and maybe the most important business decision of this year:
Not a single one of the 2.547 employees working within MaxBet group will not lose their jobs during the state od emergency. That decision will be respected no matter how long the pandemic lasts.
I always made sure that MaxBet is a place where every employee feels safe and respected, aware that we care about every individual. It is very important to me to know that no employee of ours goes to sleep worrying about their job stability and whether they will be able to take care of their families. We have been building that safe space for years and it remains one of our priorities, no matter the situation.
That is why we made all of these changes and decided to go on a path that is not easy, but is the only right path. Additional sign that we made a truly good decision was given to us by the Serbian government – weeks after we closed our betting locations the government banned all working objects that gather people at one place, including betting places.
Special thanks to Blic, Telegraf, Večenje novosti, Kurir, Mondo and other media outlets that wrote about our measures of preventions and thus encouraged other companies to follow our example.
All of this shall pass, and until then it is up to all of us to play this game of life in a humane, wise and responsible way, because that is the only way we can get out of this situation stronger, braver and more ready for new challenges and new games.