International Lottery Systems SA

Visiting International Lottery Systems (ILS) wasn't planned it just sort of happened by accident. In trying to take a picture of Liebherr's head office I needed to get far enough away to capture the whole building. This led to my standing in the parking lot of the business next door (ILS). After snapping a few pictures of Liebherr I turned and wondered who the occupant was of this new one-story building with the charcoal-colored tinted windows. The large sign out front reads "International Lottery Systems" and it had me wondering whether it was related to either the Rhode Island-based or Nevada-based company (don't remember their names) who are big players in the lottery industry. Being inquisitive (okay, maybe a little nosy) I try walking in the front doors but find them locked. Peering through the windows proves useless due to the dark tinting of the glass. Trying the doors again I hear a buzzer and bingo, I'm in. Once inside you immediately notice the modernistic décor-sort of like being in a museum. I ask the receptionist if this is a subsidiary of an American company but it's to no avail since she doesn't speak English. She disappears into the back and returns with a man in his late 30's or early 40's. I ask him if ILS is a subsidiary of an American company. The man answers, "no". I follow up with more questions and am soon motioned to follow him into an office.

It turns out this man's name is Kourosh Shifteh and he's the CEO. I tell Shifteh what I do and ask if he has a few minutes to answer questions because I'd like to add ILS to my list of companies visited. He agrees but first says he has to make an important phone call. As he talks on the phone I roam around his large corner office furnished in the same modernistic décor as the lobby area. The floor is black tile and the brightest item in the room is definitely the bright red leather sofa with the two black throw pillows anchoring the ends. Several framed family pictures sit on his L-shaped desk along with a computer. I count two real plants and a black leather couch-similar to the kind of couches psychiatrists are suppose to have in their offices (having never been to a shrink I'm only going by what I see in the movies). On one wall there's a bookcase containing a wide variety of books including several bibles. But, the coolest items in his office are definitely the three 150 year-old single shot pistols which were a gift from a customer in Bulgaria.

Hanging up the phone, Shifteh says something has come up and he has to make several more calls and asks if it's possible to come back later in the day. Unfortunately I can't. I do ask a couple quick questions and find out his company produces lottery tickets (you know -the ones where you scratch off the numbers) for 14 countries. Most of the space in this building houses the state-of-the-art presses capable of spitting out 12 million standard format tickets per day. He's coy when asked about company revenues (it's privately held) but he doesn't confirm nor deny when I throw out the figures "between $50 and $100 million?" I ask one final question, "why are you headquartered here in Bulle?" Shifteh answers, "because I live nearby". Boy, Shifteh sure wins high marks from me for his openness and flexibility.