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MERKUR INTERVIEW


The Front


was actually more than just my boss. In many ways he was my mentor and I have so much to thank him for.” As well as a clearly defined sale leadership role Sakis also


drew on his technical background and became heavily involved in Merkur Gaming’s product development. “Everything comes back to the products,” he said. “When the Gauselmann Group celebrated, in such great style, its 60th anniversary in 2017 I, in common with so many colleagues, felt a great sense of pride in what had been achieved over those years. Pride in what we do and how well we do it is the ultimate driver for us going forward and that starts with our products: what we have now and what we will have going forward. As just one example, we will at ICE this year have a great showing of our new Avantgarde Trio Max cabinet. That is, how should I say it, ‘my baby’. I came up with the concept of presenting something that was Big in every sense of the word. Three 31.5” full HD monitors, a new sound concept with its loudspeakers located at console height and enabling the player to become one with the game: truly, a fantastic experience. I can say in retrospect that my idea was not universally popular at first but I had total belief (and, yes, pride) in the concept and now I can say that it has really worked out. I think we have a great product that both operators and players will find exciting and attractive. It is


also a product that I am certain will be a huge success in a whole range of international markets.” With the popularity of gaming across eastern Europe


reaching new heights Sakis and his team, including sales director Markus Wessler, who Sakis regards as his ‘right hand man’ and who he recruited to the team in 2010 after his success with the highly regarded German distribution company Diekhaus, have carved out an impressive market share for the Merkur brand. With the current re-emergence of the Ukraine as a highly significant new market and extensive business development in Poland also Sakis takes time to reflect on the significant higher profile that began in 2015 and which continues to now. One clear example of this is the profile that Merkur Gaming has created at major trade shows. “Prior to 2015 our trade show presence was perhaps not as high as it should have been. We often dressed our booths too darkly: it was always a professional display, of course, but our ability to showcase ourselves has changed dramatically in the past few years. Look at what we do at ICE and at G2E in as Vegas, for example. We are lighter and brighter and our public ‘face’ has become more open, directly in line with the fantastic products that we have to show and the professionalism of our staff. And not just at what we can call the mega-shows. Our presence at the


FEBRUARY 2020 87


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