Johan Graf – Novomatic Empire Creator

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May 20, 2022
8 minutes

Johan graf passed his unique way. He managed to learn a family case, work his hands and learn the bitterness of parting with business partners. Last pushed him to create your own company novomatic. In 2020, johan took the second line among the richest people of austria according to forbes. His condition is estimated at $ 7.2 billion.

Nameoihhan graf
date of birthjanuary 3, 1946
place of birthvienna, austria


The future entrepreneur was born on january 3, 1946. His infancy took place in the northwestern part of the veins. Americans controlled this territory. In 1955, parents moved to the opposite part of the capital. In the trading suburbs perchtoldsdorf father opened a meat shop. By this time ended the allies.

From nine years, johan was under the care of her grandparents. They lived in a studio apartment with minimal amenities – the kitchen and the toilet were in the general corridor. After a couple of years in the instruction of the father, the count began to get acquainted with a family business. Thanks to the diligence at 23, he became the youngst master butcher in austria. In 2008 in an interview with the austrian publication trend, johan graf shared memories:

"I traveled to a shop on the bus through the whole city and worked so that sometimes sales increased 5 times. However, the father did not appoint a salary, and indeed there was no gratitude from his parents. From thely beginning i knew that it would not last forever ".

First capital

Sale of meat products never delivered yohan fun. The real passion was the thechnique. In many ways, he owes her grandfather, who had a well-kept opel kapitän. At 20, the count counted to the purchase of a british sportor jaguar. After a couple of monhs, he resell the car with an extraction. Later he began to turn similar transactions with other cars.

Thanks to his hobby, he met a young electrical engineer gerhard podniknik. He also had ambitions for creating their own business. In 1974, johan decided to leave the family business and together with a friend creates a new company – brodnik & graf gmbh. The total amount of investments amounted to 50 thousand. Shilling. It was enough to organize the import of american machine guns for pinbola.

A small enterprise managed to succeed due to two factors. They got rid of mediators, going out directly at the british manufacturer of jpm slot machines and becoming its official dealer in austria. In the 1970s, a gradual transition began from electromechanical machines to completely electric. It pushed partners to hire new professionals to develop devices under their brand.

When developing its machine, johan count and gerhard podnimnik focused on the world’s first video silver from fortune coin

When one story ends, the other begins

Joint business became more successful, but two talented people could not get get get get get get get along in one enterprise. Johan graf leaves brodnik & graf gmbh and at the age of 34 decides to create their own company. Initially, he wanted to name intermitic enterprise, but later walking in the center of vienna notic hotels in novotel. After that, he stopped at the novomatic version.

The new manufacturer of slot machines was registered in the 1980s. In the same year, johan gains a team of specialists and produess first slots called admiral. Already in 1981, products are in demand in france, the netherlands, switzerland and germany. In 1982, the company begins expansion abroad. Novomatic first installed gaming devices in alpine sanatoriums, which made it possible to take 70% of the switzerland market.

Thanks to the first business, johan received not only funds for his own business, but also invaluable experience. Austrian realized the importance and usefulness of the news, as well as the need to be on advanced trends. In the late 1980s, the "iron curtain" weakened, opening the eastern european market. This allowed novomatic in 1989 to establish a production center in czechoslovakia. In a few years, the developer quickly develops other markets in eastern europe and baltic.

In 1991, admiral casino colosseum appears in prague with the assistance of local authorities – the largest casino of the capital of the czech republic. It continues to work to this day. By the same principle in may 1992, the first novomatic casino appears in st. Petersburg in russia. Then, together was austrian company, the co-founder was "nevva chance", which the city committee on external relations organized the city. First, the casino was called "neva", but later the name was changed to admiral. Johan graft himself told that at that time it was often dined with vladimir putin, who then heded the same committee.

Historical moment – vladimir putin and johan count for the game in roulette

Avoid confrontation – to win the war

Despite the success of abroad, the domestic market of gambling in the 80s controlled another company – casinos austria ag. She had luxurious casinos with gloramorous halls throughout the country. For visitors acted a strict dress code – the ladies wore evening dresses, and men – tuxedo. In such a situation, it was easy to remove the film about james bond.

It across johan count on the idea of ​​a shortage of such entertainment places for the working class – people in jeans also need to access slot machines. The entrepreneur began to install slots in cafes and hotels. In the 90s, this gave a good impetus to business, allowing you to move to a new office near the exhibition pavilion of the vienna sesiscil.

From 2003 to 2008 novomatic acquires about 40 companies, including nsm löwen entertainment in bingham, germany. The german manufacturer was on the verge of bankruptcy due to debts. This allowed count in 2004 to buy a company for a symbolic price along with the debt of € 14 million. A subsidiary starts to produce new slots called novoline and novostar. In 2007, about 100 thousand were sold in germany. Machines – 40% of the market occupied nsm löwen.

C 2006 novomatic gives preference to rental slots, and not selling them. Gambling operator makes an entry fee of € 7,500 and every monh pays € 200. Such an approach provides stable profits, but the model was implemented only due to the company’s market strength.

In 2007, there were about 500 casinos in 56 countries of the world – by 2020 their number increased to 2000. Confrontation with casinos austria ag thanks to competent solutions, the unconditional victory is novomatic – the income of the provider has been 7 times higher thant of a competitor.

Key solutions

After such success, many entrepreneurs would relax and worshed the laurels, but not johan graft. He never took large amounts from the company and always reinvested to continue to develop. In addition, he accepted a number of key solutions:

  • Johan graf began paying more attention to social significance. Novomatic has fallen into the list of the most sought-after employers of austria – the staff of the enterprise receives a salary above the average.
  • Cooperation with stars. On the opening of the largest casino in latin america performed jennifer lopez. Among partners can not be noded niki laud – the former champion of formula 1.
  • Immediate image. Novomatic began to raise their status on the market due to sponsorship. The provider has invested money in the vienna state opera. Also, the company began to create spectacular stands at international conferences in las vegas and london.

Novomatic comes to exhibitions with bright and technological stands

In july 2015 novomatic put the final point in rivalry with casinos austria, buying 28.1% of the shares. The greatest share was still remaining at the state corporation öbib 33.2%.

Love for homeland and subsequent disappointment

The main business of johan count is still registered in austria. But this country is hard to call loyal to gambling business. According to a lawyer’s comment in count edition bloomberg, johan gets only 5% and pays all taxes when he gets "80% shit".

Previously, novomatic was accused of bribing politicians. The provider allegedly offered them to make favorable changes in legislation for a fee of € 500 thousand. Because of this case, in 2019, heinz-christian stroy, the former vice-chancellor of austria, announced care from politics. After the police searched the house of the count, novomatic reported a possible reduction in business share in austria – it is no longer the main market for the provider.

Attitude to business and family

Johan count divorced, but still married, managed to acquire three children. Unlike his father, he does not impose a family business. Instead, johan always gives preference to qualified managers, and it does not matter whether they are relatives or not. While interest in gambling business shows only the eldest son thomas graf – now he is held by novomatic technical director.

"At the weekend, johan graf reads magazines for gambling, and every monday comes to an office with a bunch of ideas, so the conference was transferred to wednesday" – johannes khan, from the 1997 member of the novomatic board

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