International edition
June 19, 2021

Statements by Simon Johnson

Business In Sport & Leisure CEO highlighted ICE importance

(UK).- Simon Johnson, CEO of the Business In Sport & Leisure, has highlighted the importance of ICE Totally Gaming, describing it as a ‘unique and invaluable opportunity to showcase the credentials of the gaming industry and in the process help change the narrative surrounding gaming in this country.’

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ohnson, who previously served as Chief Operating Officer for England’s bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, used ICE to host members of the All Party Parliamentary Leisure Group.  Explaining the purpose and success of the initiative, he said: “The core objective for BISL in 2012 is to begin to change the narrative around gaming which I’m afraid to say is largely a negative one.  This impacts on all sectors of the business and makes it politically difficult for governments of all persuasions to be seen to be helping, what are legitimate, socially responsible and innovative companies who happen to operate in gaming.
 
“We took members of the Leisure Group on a tour of ICE Totally Gaming, visiting the stands of BISL members including OpenBet, Inspired Gaming and The Global Draw. These companies are significant employers, highly successful exporters and technologically advanced innovators all of whom make a substantial contribution to UK plc in many different ways.  I am impressed and extremely proud of what BISL members do and how they operate, as was the Leisure Group.  Gaming innovators such as those at ICE are at the heart of the knowledge economy and there’s no reason why they should not enjoy the same status with politicians as for example those companies that are part of the Creative Industry.
 
“The Leisure Group was very keen to learn of the huge range of employment opportunities offered by organisations in the industry and the ability of young people to progress to senior positions within our organisations. On this note we expressed our grave concern that the punitive aspects of Machines Games Duty, in particular those relating to Skill With Prize machines, will effectively destroy the sector, in the process shutting the door on what has been traditionally a great industry for creative young software developers to cut their teeth.
 
“There’s no doubt that ICE is the perfect showcase for the gaming sector and an important lobbying opportunity to help create a positive profile and encourage politicians to treat this industry as seriously as they do construction, retail, manufacturing, transport and engineering,” he concluded.

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