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Introduction: We have interviewed Ms Angela Ho to talk about the online casino DrHo888.com, pioneer of live dealer casinos, initially created for Asian players but now taking bets from other countries. DrHo888.com has a significant industry experience and connections to the Macau land-based casinos. Ms Angela Ho is the DrHo888.com's CEO & President, and daughter of Dr Stanley Ho, the most successful casino operator in Asia, and also one of the richest man in the world with estimated net worth to be around $3.6 bil - he has met important persons like Bill Clinton, George Bush...

Last minute: Around June 2005, DrHo888.com will feature RNG games in addition of Live Dealers games.
Ms Angela Ho
Angela Ho

1) Well, we will start by talking about yourself, Angela. What is your professional background? How did you get involved in the online gambling industry? What is your position at DrHo888.com?

I graduated in the Arts and have been working for 15 years in that field when I started diversifying into other arenas.

I founded a corporate jet charter at Macau International Airport.

Then I looked into some internet and biotechnology investments because I knew that would be a growing market and placed funds in this type of ventures. This was very successful, and along the way I noticed the growing interest in online gambling. I convinced my father this was a space he should be in and we started the company.

I am the CEO and President of DrHo888.com.

2) When did you first open DrHo888.com?

We started 4 years ago.

3) As this date, casino games with real dealers weren't very popular - how did you get the intuition that it would work well?

Well, when I was telling my father about this I researched the industry and found that 70-80% of North American gambling revenue came from slot machines, while in Macau 99% of the revenue came from table games I realized that the Asian players do not like RNG computer based games. So to cater to the Asian market we needed to 're-create' the casino experience as best as we could online. The Asians, shrewd gamblers that they are, do not believe that Lady-Luck lives in a machine. She lives in a deck of cards or a pair of dice dealt by a pretty girl.

4) What main advantage has DrHo888.com against its competitors? Do your players play often at your casino and how loyal are they?

Well, we have a very strong brand recognition amongst Asians. And for non-Asians we offer what no other online casino can offer; namely a real face and person behind the operation, who has over 40 years of experience and integrity. He also has billions of dollars behind him which means he can afford to pay the players their winnings.

Our players are 'regular' players who log on habitually. Our players are very loyal. If we loose a player we consider that to be a failure on our behalf.

5) How often do you offer special bonuses and promotions for your loyal players? Have you a VIP club?

We offer different promotions for different holidays and events, and then we do 'introductory' promotions to give people a chance to get the experience of a LIVE casino online almost on a monthly basis. A lot of times we actually give away free cash for new and old customers.

Yes, we have a VIP club. It gives you benefits in the form of credit lines and other benefits.

DrHo888.com's live casino studio
Shuffling procedures
6) Let's talk about the technology behind DrHo888.com webcam games. I have seen that you have a lots of different dealers - it seems that DrHo888.com handles lots of players.

Yes, we do have a lot of different dealers. This is not a cheap operation with a bunch of servers in a room. We deal with real people and it is very personal. However, the technology is written to spec for us so it is able to handle a lot of players all at once.

Yes, we do handle a lot of players, and our main focus for a long time has been to be able to handle a lot of players. When we first launched four years ago the software we used was not as good as we had expected and we found that many players left us with a not satisfactory experience. Since then we have been working hard on making this the most user-friendly software available. Even if you compare us to most RNG computer based software; we are very easy to access.

7) I have been surprised by the robustness of your technology. Everything is loading quickly, and I often see the casino manager talking to players and helping them. How long it took to establish a such platform and to understand the needs of players?

As I mentioned before, we found that we first launched the DrHo888.com software product with higher expectations of scalability and user-friendliness then we found to be the case. We quickly realized that this was not satisfactory and changed software provider. I decided that this time around we wanted to have more control over the development of the software and I basically bought into the new software provider so we could work closely on developing the product that we had envisioned would be right for the players. Being part of a large company that has the backing to make sure we 'get it right' has afforded us to spend the time and money necessary to make the best product available today. Be it Live- or RNG-based.

So, you are correct in saying that it is a robust and quickly accessible product we now present, and it took us two years of geting the product to where we wanted it.

8) About your beautiful dealers. When looking around the casino and the chat window, your players seem to know them well. I believe some have preferred dealers?

That is a very good observation. Yes, we do have certain players who have developed a relationship with certain dealers. However, I don't find that the players really wait for that dealer to come on shift. But I must say that we have players asking the dealers for their birthdays so they can send them gifts, and at Valentine's Day we are inundated with boxes of chocolate for the dealers. This, of course, can cause a problem as I don't want our dealers to get too fat!...Just kidding, but I do feel that the social interactivity is something that our players enjoy. Of course we also have players who never chat at all and are just very serious gamblers. Each to his own. DrHo888.com Live Roulette
DrHo888.com Live Roulette

9) Is DrHo888.com a success now? I mean - have you reached all your goals?

Yes, DrHo888.com is a success now. No we have not reach all our goals.

The asian market is in it’s infancy compared to the American or European market when you are talking about the internet. We have a great brand and hope to build the online business side as Asia mature online.

10) How do you see the futur of the online gambling industry? Do you think real dealers will be a norm in internet casino games for all casinos? Do you see more video streaming in online casinos to make them more realistic?

I believe there will be a consolidation of the industry. In the future there may not be as many operators in the online gambling industry. I believe that brand-recognition and the entry of more established land-based casinos into the industry will bring about this change.

As I said earlier I believe we are the future. There will always be customers for Computer simulated games like slots etc. But really; would you rather play against a machine or a deck of cards? As the internet develops and video-streams are becoming easier to broadcast, I think the players will demand and expect this kind of product.

11) What do you think about the recent positive events such as the WTO ruling for Antigua & the UK Gambling Bill?

Well, I have always believed that one of the responsibilities of any government should be to protect it's citizens. The internet is of such a nature that it is almost impossible to protect yourself against it. Therefore, I believe it is any government's duty to legalize, regulate and tax every internet casino operator. That is, in my opinion the best way for a government to protect it's citizens from 'fly-by-night' operators where the player has no idea whether they will receive their winnings. If a government will audit and regulate the industry, then the citizens will follow. We have been operating in a regulated environment for four decades, so we know what is the right thing to do and will follow that to not injure my father's long-standing reputation and integrity. But not every other online casino operator will have that experience or sense of responsibilty. So, I see these events as a clear positive for the online gaming industry.

12) How different is the Asian market compared to Europe players and US players?

Well, I have mentioned that already. The Asian players are much less trusting then the North American player. They really want to know that you are presenting a 'fair game'.

13) Thanks for this interview Angela! Maybe have you a last thing to say to our readers?

You're very welcome! Famous last words? I believe that most of your readers will find the experience of playing at DrHo888.com to be far above what they have seen before.

Well, that's all folks !
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