Dr. Alexander Labak: New Leadership at Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries (Interview)

Dr. Alexander Labak appointed to the Management Board and also Director General of Casinos Austria, as well as Chairman of Austrian Lotteries


Dr. Alexander Labak joined the management board of Casinos Austria AG on 1 June 2017, taking over the position of director general from Dr. Karl Stoss. At the same time, Dr. Labak was appointed to the management board and chairman of Austrian Lotteries.

After completing university degrees in Austria and the U.S., Dr. Labak worked in the marketing departments of several successful international companies, focusing on brand marketing and development, as well as consumer-centric product management.  These positions led to service in top management of financial businesses.  As Chief Executive Officer of Home Credit Group of Home Credit and Finance Bank, LLC., Dr. Labak was responsible for the Europe region, encompassing 53 countries and serving 9,000 MasterCard member financial institutions. Prior to joining Home Credit B.V., Dr. Labak served as Chief Marketing Officer of Deutsche Bank. Prior to Deutsche Bank, he held senior management posts at a diverse range of leading global organisations in Germany, Canada, Italy, Austria and the United States. Dr. Labak is a Fulbright Scholar holding an MBA from the Wharton Business School and a PhD from the Vienna University of Economics & Business Administration.

What have you valued most about your working experience?

Dr. Alexander Labak:  For me, it has always been important to work in dynamic international teams. Working efficiently and economically for the benefit of the company and its customers, correctly assessing and managing risk has always been a top priority in my line of work. The further development and re-invention of best-selling products and services, as well as innovations in various fields and “putting the customer first”, have also been at the core of my professional efforts.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in the Lottery industry?

Lotteries are for everyone! They are for the young generation looking for fun and entertainment as well as for those already in retirement, dreaming of a little extra money. Lottery games are widely successful: little risk and small stakes provide the chance to “live the dream” with a big lottery win. This concept is timeless, but we have to adapt the structures of gameplay and participation to the needs of modern customers – we have to make it easy, make it exciting, make it available anywhere and anytime, provide a purpose, and sell our products AND our brand.

Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries had a fantastic year 2016, and so far 2017 has been going well. However, we are still strongly focused on innovation and aim to develop the next generation lottery products.

What first actions will you take in this new function?

Joining Casinos Austria as only the third Director General in the company’s 50-year history gives me a special responsibility when it comes to leading the company to continued and long-term success. The gaming industry is currently in a period of dynamic change, which brings with it opportunities, but also risks, for our companies. I am looking forward immensely to the new challenge and am confident that as a strong team, we will be successful in all strategic areas of our business.

I am currently deep-diving into all processes, products and ways of distribution. Efficiency and effectiveness are the keywords – optimisations and reorganisations will naturally follow. My main focus is on digitalisation. Austrian Lotteries has long years of experience in offering its products on the internet with our win2day platform. However, the level of digitalisation from the customers’ perspective is not where it could and should be. We need to deploy modern technologies to provide much easier access to our games,.

 What will your lottery organization look like in 10 years?

Austrian Lotteries has always been good at combining traditional values and modern technologies. In 10 years we should – and I’m sure that we will – have established a new customer base within the younger generation, making the so-called “millennials” our strongest target group. There will be lots of new products as well as “revamped” classics – all available online and offline – that best meet the individual’s needs. Organisationally, I expect that we will see more international, cross-border cooperations with other licensed operators throughout Europe and a much better use of synergies between individual products and distribution channels.

What do you think are the benefits of being an EL Member?

The European Lotteries Association provides a great opportunity to share best practices, innovative approaches and experiences. At the same time, it is important to have an organisation that allows licensed operators to speak “with one voice” when it comes to legal issues and debates regarding the values of our society(s). I expect a high level of cooperation and fairness among the members as well as EL providing the organisational framework to exchange insights, experience, and expertise.

Which services provided by the Association are really important to you?

A common framework of security and professional standards is a most valuable component to the organisation, including certification for our responsible gaming standard. Also, meeting and working together with colleagues from other lottery operators is highly beneficial for all members.

What would be your first action if you won the lottery?

Well, I hope I would donate the entire amount to good causes!

Why do you think people dream so much about winning the jackpot?

Essentially, winning the lottery is about winning your freedom, being independent from anyone and anything. The fact that you are free to choose where and how to live, where to travel, how and when and for what purpose to work is something that appeals to everyone – irrespective of age or gender. And also, let’s not forget: Dreaming is quite a bit of fun.  It helps us to think about and clarify a sense of purpose so that we achieve the things in our lives that are most important to us.

What would a world without State Lotteries look like?

Without state-licensed lotteries it would probably be difficult to ensure a high level of regulation, safety and security for the consumers and society as a whole. The state and society have no interest in excessive gambling activities – the detrimental effects on the financial situation of persons affected by gambling addiction can still be seen when it comes to illegal offers of games of chance, and in countries that have no regulations in place. At the same time, since the beginning of time, people have been fascinated by games and games of chance. State lotteries can provide a regulated outlet and environment for these primordial needs without posing too much of a risk for anyone involved. Basically, we need state-licensed lotteries to keep games of chance fun entertainment that are consumed responsibly.

Synopsis

Français
Le Dr Alexander Labak a été nommé au Conseil de gestion et Directeur général de Casinos Austria, ainsi que Président des Loteries autrichiennes.  Le Dr Labak a rejoint le conseil de gestion de Casinos Austria AG le 1er juin 2017, en reprenant le poste de directeur général auprès du Dr Karl Stoss. Au même moment, le Dr Labak a été nommé au conseil de gestion et président des Loteries autrichiennes. Avant sa désignation, le Dr Labak a occupé le poste de PDG du Home Credit Group au sein de la Home Credit and Finance Bank, LLC, où il était en charge de la région Europe, regroupant 53 pays et servant 9 000 membres d'établissements financiers MasterCard. Le Dr Labak est titulaire de la bourse Fulbright et d'un MBA de la Wharton Business School. Il a également obtenu un doctorat à l'Université d'économie et de gestion de Vienne. Dr Labak : Rejoindre Casinos Austria en étant seulement le troisième Directeur général de la société depuis qu'elle a été créée il y a 50 ans me donne une responsabilité particulière, celle de conduire l'entreprise vers une réussite continue et pérenne. Le secteur du jeu vit actuellement une période de changement dynamique, porteuse d'opportunités mais aussi de risques pour nos entreprises. J'ai particulièrement hâte de m'attaquer à ce nouveau défi et je suis sûr que l'équipe solide que nous formons réussira dans tous les domaines stratégiques de notre activité. Je suis actuellement en train d'approfondir mes connaissances sur l'ensemble des processus, des produits et des voies de distribution. L'efficience et l'efficacité sont les mots-clés. Il s'ensuivra naturellement des optimisations et des réorganisations. Ma priorité est la numérisation. Les Loteries autrichiennes ont une longue expérience dans les produits en ligne avec notre plateforme win2day. Néanmoins, le niveau de numérisation du point de vue des clients n'a pas atteint le degré qu'il pourrait et qu'il devrait atteindre. Nous avons besoin d'un accès beaucoup plus facile à nos jeux, via les technologies modernes.
Español
El Dr. Alexander Labak ha sido nombrado miembro del consejo de administración y director general de Casinos Austria, así como presidente de Austrian Lotteries.  El Dr. Alexander Labak entró en el consejo de administración de Casinos Austria AG el 1 de junio de 2017, asumiendo el cargo de director general de manos del Dr. Karl Stoss. Al mismo tiempo, el Dr. Labak fue nombrado miembro del consejo de administración y presidente de Austrian Lotteries. Antes de este nombramiento, el Dr. Labak había trabajado como director ejecutivo de Home Credit Group, de Home Credit and Finance Bank, LLC., siendo responsable de la región de Europa, abarcando 53 países y trabajando al servicio de más de 9000 instituciones financieras miembros de Mastercard. El Dr. Labak es un académico de Fulbright, y cuenta con un MBA por la Escuela de negocios Wharton y un doctorado por la Universidad de Viena en Economía y Administración de Empresas. Dr. Labak: Entrar en Casinos Austria como el tercer director general en los 50 años de historia de la compañía me otorga una responsabilidad especial para llevarla por un camino de éxito continuado y a largo plazo. El sector del juego está pasando actualmente por un período de cambio dinámico que conlleva oportunidades, pero también de riesgos, para nuestras empresas. Espero con impaciencia este nuevo desafío, y confío en que, con un equipo tan fuerte, tendremos éxito en todas las áreas estratégicas de nuestro negocio. En este momento estoy estudiando a fondo todos los procesos, productos y formas de distribución. Las palabras clave son eficacia y eficiencia y, naturalmente, se llevará a cabo un proceso de optimización y de reorganización. En este momento estoy centrado en la digitalización. Austrian Lotteries tiene muchos años de experiencia a la hora de ofrecer sus productos en Internet mediante nuestra plataforma win2day. Sin embargo, el nivel de digitalización, desde la perspectiva de los clientes, no se encuentra en el nivel en el que podría y debería estar. Necesitamos acceder de forma mucho más fácil a nuestros juegos, utilizando tecnologías modernas.
Deutsch
Dr. Alexander Labak zum Mitglied des Management Boards sowie zum Director General of Casinos Austria, und zum Chairman von Austrian Lotteries ernannt.  Dr. Alexander Labak wurde zum 1. Juni 2017 Mitglied des Management Boards von Casinos Austria AG und übernahm von Dr. Karl Stoss die Position als Generaldirektor. Gleichzeitig wurde Dr. Labak zum Mitglied des Management Boards und zum Vorsitzenden von Austrian Lotteries ernannt. Vor seiner Ernennung war Dr. Labak CEO der Home Credit Group of Home Credit und Finance Bank, LLC., wo er für die Region Europa mit 53 Ländern und 9.000 Banken mit MasterCard-Mitgliedschaft verantwortlich war. Dr. Labak ist ein Fulbright-Stipendiat mit einem MBA der Wharton Business School und einem PhD der Vienna University of Economics & Business Administration. Dr. Labak: „Als erst dritter Generaldirektor in der über 50-jährigen Firmengeschichte bei Casinos Austria trage ich eine besondere Verantwortung dafür, das Unternehmen auch weiterhin und langfristig zum Erfolg zu führen. Die Glücksspielbranche befindet sich in einer Umbruchphase, was für unsere Unternehmen Gelegenheiten aber auch mit Risiken mit sich bringt. Ich freue mich ungemein auf diese neue Herausforderung und bin zuversichtlich, dass wir mit unserem starken Team in allen strategischen Geschäftsbereichen erfolgreich sein werden. Ich mache mich momentan mit allen Prozessen, Produkten und Vertriebswegen vertraut. Effizienz und Effektivität sind die Schlagworte – Optimierung und Neustrukturierungen sind eine logische Konsequenz. Mein Schwerpunkt liegt auf der Digitalisierung. Austrian Lotteries hat langjährige Erfahrung mit dem Vertrieb unserer Produkte auf der Plattform win2day. Doch aus Kundenperspektive sind wir in Sachen Digitalisierung noch nicht dort, wo wir sein sollten. Wir müssen unsere Spiele mit modernen Technologien leichter zugänglich machen.“

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