The gaming industry was not on the radar for Joc Pe?e?nik when he founded Interblock parent Elektroncek in 1989. The Slovenia-based company originally produced and installed security systems, then moved into general computer hardware and software solutions.
One day, Pe?e?nik was asked by a local casino if the firm could repair a gaming machine.
“During the repairs I discovered a potentially lucrative niche in the industry, the automation of classical casino table games like roulette,” recalls Pe?e?nik. “This is how ‘Princess,’ our first product, was born in 1997.”
The electronic roulette prototype was introduced at London’s ICE trade show, where the device received “impressive market response,” says Pe?e?nik. “From that time on, the Interblock brand has stood for highly reliable and sophisticated gaming solutions.”
Today, Interblock produces a variety of automated table games, including electronic roulettes in real and virtual wheel formats, dice games and electro-mechanical card games. The devices have found success internationally in venues ranging from small arcades to mega-casinos.
“Different traditions require different play options,” says Pe?e?nik, who besides his role as company chairman also oversees R&D and business development at Interblock.
At home, Pe?e?nik has taken an active role in society. In 2006, he bought the local Ljubljana football (soccer) team and stadium with the goal of creating a modern, professionally competitive club—not coincidentally, now also named Interblock.
Pe?e?nik has also established the charity foundation Red Ball, the main purpose of which is to restore dignity to the less fortunate, providing jobs and financial assistance to young athletes, the disabled and others in need.
Interblock also owns and operates the Kongo Hotel & Casino, just outside Ljubljana. Besides functioning as a gaming venue, the electronic casino serves as showroom and test facility.
“Kongo gives us an opportunity to present our freshest products to clients and business partners, right on the floor,” says Pe?e?nik. “It also gives us insight into the problems a casino might face.”
At present, Kongo is Interblock’s only involvement as an operator. But, says Pe?e?nik, “If our operations in the U.S. go as well as planned, there could be a new ‘kingdom of entertainment’ in Las Vegas.”
Interblock’s North American business was recently boosted by the addition of an Organic Island multi-game installation with 120 terminals at Genting’s new Resorts World Casino New York at Aqueduct Racetrack. A second, larger installation is planned for the second phase of the casino.
Pe?e?nik credits the success of the company “to the whole Interblock team, to my family and my friends.”
That sense of loyalty and appreciation seems to run both ways: five of the six people who started with Pe?e?nik in 1989 are still among the firm’s 300 employees.