Russian casino interiors are on a par with European ones: Director at Jet Velvet junket club
Russian casinos are on a par with European ones in terms of interior and exterior, but service is their weak point. Besides, the competition in the Russian gambling industry grows, which is quite beneficial to it. Such an opinion was expressed by Peter Barinov, the moderator of RGW 2019 lectures and Director at Jet Velvet junket club. We talked about features affecting the attractiveness of junket tours and the current condition of the Russian gambling industry.
Interviewer: Russian Gaming Week 2019 (RGW).
Respondent: Peter Barinov (PB).
RGW: Hello, Peter. Tell us about the Jet Velvet project. What services do you provide, and what are the unique features of the project?
PB: Jet Velvet is a project not only for the Russian but also international market. Unlike conventional junket operators, our junket club is not limited to free trips to world’s best casinos. We are responsible for the whole organization of leisure time. Our personal managers are ready to fulfill any wishes of club customers: whether they are private plane flights, reservation of a table in the Michelin restaurant, or organization of a luxurious party.
RGW: How did you establish Jet Velvet? Did you start from scratch or have an experience in a similar project?
PB: Prior to my joining the company, the business has already existed for significant amount of time. The team of personal managers organized gambling tours for the limited number of VIP clients. My task was to scale up the activity using well-established connections in the gambling industry and employees’ experience.
Our development strategy was based on features of the Russian premium audience and modern technological trends. We decided to increase significantly the amount of services, becoming a one-stop service for the organization of customers’ recreational activities. The upgraded company turned into a symbiosis of junket operator, concierge desk, aviation broker, and event agency.
RGW: Why European casinos are your major partners rather than US and Chinese venues? What is the reason of such a choice?
PB: The European focus is driven by the gambling tourism specific nature. A trip to casino is a spontaneous decision. It rarely lasts more than a week. The convenient location and absence of visas in a range of European states make them the most attractive for our customers. Now, we are negotiating with the largest casinos of Las Vegas and Macau, so the list of our club offers will be supplemented by some important venues pretty soon.
RGW: What European casino can be described as the favorite among Russian VIP gamblers as of today?
PB: Russian gamblers primarily focus on Minsk, which has become a gambling capital of Eastern Europe. It offers a wide range of gambling venues in gambling zones located as near to Moscow as possible. Our long-term partner in Minsk is Opera, one of the CIS most luxurious casinos. The majority of Jet Velvet customers prefer this venue for weekend junket tours because of exclusive service, convenient location, and absence of customs control.
RGW: You have explored European gambling venues quite well. How do Russian gambling zones look like in comparison with them? Are we able to compete with European establishments?
PB: The Russian gambling industry is still very young. The majority of casinos have been operating for less than three years. Russian interiors are on a par with European ones, but service remains the weak point.
Sochi Casino is Russia’s only casino we cooperate with. It is undoubtedly the most luxurious casino in the country. Due to the huge amount of VIP rooms, we can guarantee Jet Velvet customers the service level they get used to.
As far as we know, the Sochi gambling zone will soon add a range of new gambling complexes. An increased competition in the popular resort will be beneficial to the region and industry in general.
The Primorye gambling zone also has great prospects: by 2022, one will build around dozens of new gambling venues save for Tigre de Cristal. However, all of them will be aimed at Asian gamblers. Our customers are more interested in overseas travels. Junket tours mean not just gambling, but also an opportunity to visit new places.
RGW: What is your impression about Russian Gaming Week 2018 and lectures in particular?
PB: I was pleasantly impressed by the event. RGW guests and participants examined advanced technologies and services of the gambling industry. Speakers’ presentations revealed relevant issues. I am especially glad that the market pays attention to eSports, quite a promising industry that can give fresh impetus to the gambling development.
As to the lectures, the discussion appeared to be very exciting and attracted a huge amount of listeners. The Russian audience does not like to ask questions, but it appreciates information obtained from market experts.