In an official press release issued Tuesday, the company cited a recently released ICE Location Analysis survey conducted by Explori, claiming it "has re-ignited concerns among several leading exhibitors that London can perhaps be seen as no longer fit for purpose beyond its 2022 edition."
As stated by Merkur, these concerns now re-visit an industry-wide debate that was seen after first the Covid-19 postponements and then the cancellation of ICE 2021. The survey carried out during June and July 2021 by Explori, "despite the statement issued by ICE organizers Clarion Events that they had 'engaged in significant exhibitor and attendee outreach', was directed only at attendees, not exhibitors."
Merkur's release also quotes one leading industry executive: “The exhibitors pay the bills and create the show’s profits but it seems that our opinions on London as the continuing venue for ICE after 2022 do not matter.” That executive also noted the lack of both a meaningful information flow and personal contact from Clarion. “We feel that we have been left in the dark and while the events of this year are both disappointing because of the pandemic and everything that has entailed, we have to look forward and that includes considering a reset of London as the host venue of ICE beyond 2022."
In addition, Gauselmann's brand states that, while it is almost universally agreed that London’s ExCeL is "a magnificent venue, its location in the Docklands is the exact opposite. Also causing concerns are the difficulties arising from Brexit and the UK’s departure from the European Union, the costs of travel and transport for non UK exhibiting companies, the costs of accommodation and social events and the costs of exhibiting space themselves when compared to events based on the European mainland."
Merkur also quotes a December 2020's editorial article by industry magazine European Casinos – The Elite, under the title ‘Clarion Gaming (sic) Should Take ICE out of UK’, where the magazine’s Editor Emeritus Pedro Galindo Guerra highlighted some of these issues of concern around ICE's location. "Clarion should not pass up this opportunity to take ICE out of the UK. They have the resources to do it and, if they don’t, someone else might," Galindo wrote then, as noted by Merkur's release.
"This issue refuses to go away and it is clear that those exhibitors who are concerned about the future of the global gaming industry’s biggest and arguably best B2B exhibition must come together, express those concerns openly and engage in a dialogue to find a solution," Merkur concluded.