hat does Argentina represent for Fournier?
Inigo Ortiz: Argentina is a key market for us. Despite the current difficulties, it is very important for us to be here with our distributor Ed Roberts. Our products are imported into the country complying with all the requirements in force. Orders experience some delays due to import procedures, but all in all, we are present in this market bringing our cards to casinos.
Roberto Perea: Imports flow more slowly than we would like, but we manage to do them through the obtention of non-automatic import licences (DJAI in Spanish).
Do you have presence in other countries such as Uruguay and Paraguay?
Ortiz: We reach Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile directly.
Among the Southern Cone, Which is the most stable market for you and why?
Ortiz: The less stable is Argentina due to the existing problems with imports. The rest of the markets are quite stable. The situation in Argentina may be reversed with a political change. Argentine citizens like gambling in general. There is a solid base. Once the current situation changes, the market will be reactivated.
Which is Fournier differential fact?
Ortiz: Fournier has more than a hundred years of experience in card manufacturing. We combine tradition and innovation. We believe that, over the years, we have improved the quality to create an almost perfect product, well-known in all the market segments that work with cards.
Perea: The difference in a casino card is brought mainly by security. And here is where our cards, both manufactured by Fournier and by our sister company United States Playing Card Co., are in the forefront. All employees are aware that we do not print cards; we print money. We control every detail in the manufacturing process, from printing to state of the art quality controls such as the one that verifies that all the cards are in the deck. This focus on security, added to the impeccable quality mentioned by Iñigo, has brought us to more than a thousand casinos worldwide. In Latin America we cover around 70 percent of the market.
Which are your goals in South America for the near future?
Perea: To maintain our position, to be present in new openings and to secure new businesses.
How do you follow the progress of online gaming?
Perea: Online operators choose our cards for their live tournaments. It is true that there is a debate in the sector: Does online gambling benefit or undermine our activity? I really think the online industry attracts players that would not otherwise approach off-line gaming. Land based casinos have a great edge over mobile devices: the atmosphere. And specially the one you can find around live gaming. So my personal conclusion is that on-line gaming is beneficial in the long term.
Entering online gambling is not part of our strategy, although we work intensely with online operators such as PokerStars, producing cards to the live tournaments they organize. Logically, it is an important alliance because the PokerStars brand is very well positioned worldwide.
What products are you presenting?
Perea: We are introducing our new 100% PVC cards, the “Titanium Series”. We have been manufacturing 100% PVC cards for 21 years. We were pioneers in this business. We have fine-tuned the product progressively over the years and we are market leaders. With this product, we expect to strengthen this position because we are taking the gaming experience for dealers and players to a new level.
Which will be the next show?
Perea: London. In fact, ICE is the most important event for us because Europe is one of our main markets.