The owner of London Hippodrome Casino, Simon Thomas, has supported the return of ICE London describing the show’s new April dates as being an important opportunity for the recovery and growth of the international land-based gaming sector.
Thomas, who has a long-standing association with ICE London and its predecessor, ATEI, joins European Casino Association Chairman Per Jaldung, ECA Secretary General Hermann Pamminger and The Gambling Business Group in endorsing the return of ICE London across 12-14 April 2022, after what will be a 26-month absence.
"I've missed the opportunity to meet industry figures and colleagues in person when the real conversations happen,” he said in a press release Monday. Referencing the spread of the Omicron variant which led to the identification of new dates later in the Spring, he confirmed: “London has led the charge against Covid and restrictions have been lowered. It’s vital we now focus on returning to rebuilding the industry and ICE London is a great chance to do that. I look forward to seeing everyone there."
Stuart Hunter, Managing Director, Clarion Gaming and the person responsible for delivering the return of ICE London said: “I’m delighted that the market we serve is eager and committed to get the show back on the road. The senior team has worked tirelessly with our colleagues at ExCeL London to find alternative dates for what is one of the most successful and biggest in-person business events held in the UK which in conjunction with the co-located iGB Affilate London comprises more than 700 gaming industry exhibitors. Securing new dates has been a mammoth task and has involved migrating six other events to enable ICE to have the entirety of ExCeL which is the space required to operate at full capacity.”
“We acknowledge that the April dates that we have secured do not suit everyone and that we will as a consequence miss a small proportion of our most loyal customers. This is highly regrettable and we continue to do our best to work through the challenges and provide support with preparations and planning for what is the world’s biggest and most influential gaming industry gathering,” he added.
The statement came the same day Merkur Gaming informed its decision to withdraw from ICE London 2022 as an exhibitor, claiming that its "substantial investment" in ICE would be "unable to show a positive return." This would be due to a number of reasons, including the Omicron variant's health risks and Brexit.
“We have been really encouraged by the level of industry support that we are receiving expressed both publically and in private emails. We have also commissioned independent research of the ICE database of stakeholders and the initial responses regarding the intentions to attend April’s edition of ICE London are overwhelmingly positive and augur well for our hundreds of exhibitors who will be on the show floor. I am sure the market understands that we are doing our level best to deliver another strong edition of ICE London and celebrate the return of the industry in the best possible way,” Hunter stated. “If anyone would like to discuss any of the issues relating to the return of ICE London they can contact me on [email protected].”