EXCLUSIVE Interview with Vahe Baloulian, Managing Partner for Egaming Partners Inc.

INFINITY GAMING MAGAZINE caught up with Managing Partner for Egaming Partners, Vahe Baloulian.

He reveals the secrets behind creating a successful, online channel, especially as online gaming and its legislative is becoming more of an integral gaming issue. Vahe also identifies why there must be a distinction between man and the machine, not to mention how to avoid crucial mistakes in online gaming platforms.

IM: Thank you Vahe for your time today, it is truly appreciated. Firstly everyone knows that you are the respected Managing Partner for eGaming Partners. Can you tell us what your role involves?

VB: EGaming Partners is a partnership of online gaming specialists who have worked in many countries with a diverse group of companies. We have helped start-ups get off the ground, turned around underperforming poker operations, established training schools with ground-breaking methodologies, revamped gaming products and authored innovations.
My role is to discover what ails the client’s company, where they can do better without a lot of investment, and find and deliver solutions. Aside from being a generalist, I specialize in customer care and retention through service.

IM: What is eGaming Partner’s position within the online gaming world and how exactly does it turn around underperforming poker networks?

VB: I don’t know of another company offering the same services. We assist with the structure of the start-ups and established operations, as well as help with training and hiring. We are hands-on, result-oriented consultants with a no-nonsense approach. We don’t ask for your watch and then charge you for telling the time. We ensure your watch works so that you can always get the time yourself.
Our solutions are informed by our many years of work in e-gaming, but there are no identical situations and one-size-fits-all answers. Every ill-performing operation requires its own pill to get better.
In one case, we may guide the client to a very simple solution, which they overlooked because of complacency.
In another one, where failure is caused by mismanagement and lack of an independent voice within the company to spark discussion, we may provide that voice and offer a fix.
We also work with successful companies who would simply like to do better. We believe there is no limit to improvement. There are many players who have yet to give any company a chance to serve them.


CGI Interview with Vahe Baloulian

The growth of remote gaming is considered by many to be embryonic, with a vast horizon still lying before it. One of the important developments since the first flourish of online gaming has been the recent shift of land-based casino owners toward this market. And perhaps the high profile and prevalent nature of poker across the industry is one of the best observed examples of how remote and venue based play demonstrates this emerging dynamic; an impact that is also driven by the trend to regulation.

CGI: Several years ago you were forthright in your concern at the lack of recognition for online gaming among land-based casino operators. What is your view of the changes since?

VB: The situation has changed dramatically. Now there is a rush by land-based casinos to stake their place under the online gaming sun. The most dramatic change is happening in the US, where we see a flurry of bills and deals, all driving towards legalisation and ultimately the entrance of land-based operators into the real-money online gaming realm. Even Steve Wynn, whose negative stance towards igaming I’ve mentioned previously in CGI, has changed his position and will apparently be pushing for federal legislation in the US. I also expect MGM Resorts, one of the earliest proponents of online gaming who actually did operate a real-money online casino from 2001 until 2003 from the Isle of Man (, to become more active in this area, especially given their dire need for more revenue streams.

CGI: Although late in the day, is the recent shift of key casino operators to embrace interactive gaming a positive development for the future?

VB: It is absolutely positive. It really does not matter to me why the land-based operators are shifting their position now. Whether it is the economic downturn or an understanding that they can’t anymore ignore the online gaming reality, I am happy that the industry is finally waking up. It definitely didn’t make sense to wait for so many years and their absence from the igaming scene negatively affected the entire gaming industry.


By Vahe Baloulian, CGI

It seems so logical – don’t fix something that's not broken.
Unfortunately, not everyone can resist the temptation and one day, many years ago, I received a phone call. It was regarding the customer service department at what was at that time the world’s largest online gaming company. A newly minted MBA graduate was flown in by our company to one of the customer service centers we ran. His task was to see if there was anything that could be done to improve what was at that time widely regarded as the best customer service operation in the industry.


By Vahe Baloulian, CGI, 2008

Many years ago I took part in a few gatherings of European casino operators who, with the support of the gaming equipment manufacturers, were struggling to set up an association to promote their interests.

At the time I was in charge of gaming and industry relations for one of the largest online gaming companies and was trying to get land-based casinos to recognise, embrace and benefit from our side of the gaming industry. I was the only online gaming executive present at these meetings.


By Vahe Baloulian, CGI, 2007

The big question, ‘Why not’ is often the most important and most useful one to raise: by constantly asking ourselves this simple question, we’ve rewritten the rules of ownership in the online poker industry.

We asked:

Why not make cardroom ownership free?
Why not make the terms of licensing very flexible?
Why not allow full poker software ownership?

...and many other ‘why not’s.

As a poker software vendor we are set to offer a unique service in today’s online gaming market - a service not offered by anyone else, but desired by many. There are, however, several well-known yet mistaken ‘rules’ which still permeate the online poker environment. Here are a few: