hat's your summary of ICE London this year?
As an organiser, you can look back on an event in a number of ways. Professionally, I can tell you what we executed well and the areas in which we should have performed better – these are professional insights which, more often than not, our stakeholders will probably not notice. While these issues are important and we always seek to achieve the highest professional standards, the most important measure is how our customers and our various stakeholder groups choose to summarise the event. Each year, we commission a far-reaching programme of independent research among both visitors and exhibitors and that process is taking place currently. My aim is simple, and that is to identify those areas in which we are underperforming, ask the reasons why and then put them right.
“ At ICE London, exhibitors delivered the most professional shop window on the international gaming industry."
Clarion Gaming has a culture of continuous improvement, coupled with a desire to always deliver better customer experience. What I saw at ICE London was a busy, exciting and vibrant business event with exhibitors delivering the most professional shop window on the international gaming industry. I was also pleased that the Code of Conduct we introduced in partnership with the industry was adhered to.
What has been the feedback of the exhibitors to the event?
Pending the research findings, all the reference points are anecdotal, based on what’s been said in the trade press, across social media and, of course, the messages the team has received directly from exhibitors, visitors and speakers. I have to say that the mood music is very positive and harmonious. I always mention this, but the effort and creativity that our exhibitors continue to bring to ICE London makes a huge contribution to the buzz of the show and the theatre that underpins the ICE brand.
What has been this year's attendance in raw figures?
We are very cautious about releasing attendance figures prior to submitting them for independent audit, but again, all of the indicators are good. A lot of emphasis is placed on attendance, but the figures only tell part of the story. If ICE London was open to the public – which it never will be – we could get four times the attendance, but it wouldn’t be a better event, in fact quite the opposite.
Do you see ICE London becoming the annual online gaming event par excellence in the long run? What does the future hold in store for landbased gaming, in your opinion?
ICE London serves as a barometer for everything that’s taking place in the world of international gaming across every single vertical. When visitors attend ICE London they see every new trend and development. The straightforward answer to your question is that ICE reflects the dynamics of the market. Technology is the driver for our industry and technology impacts every sector, whether it’s the latest developments in online or new developments, in the way in which manufacturers produce roulette wheels, chips or seating. Whatever happens in gaming will be reflected by the exhibitors attending ICE London and by the thought leaders participating in ICE VOX.
What do you envision for your upcoming events, such as Japan Gaming Congress, Juegos Miami and Brasil Gaming Congress?
Using initiatives such as Clarion Gaming’s Ampersand group, which is the biggest think tank in the industry with more than 1,000 members, we keep in close contact with our stakeholders to shape our conferences to reflect the changing landscapes of the various sectors that we serve. It has taken many years to get to where we are now, but last summer the implementation bill was passed in Japan and the pathway for three initial integrated resort licenses was voted into law, making this year’s JgC arguably the most pivotal gathering since its’ inception. As Latin markets continue to expand, and with the predicted regulation of sports betting in Brazil -LatAm’s largest market-, it is even more important for us to serve our markets with seminal events such as BgC and Juegos Miami.
In what ways will 2019’s ICE North America break new ground?
The success of ICE London has enabled us to take the ICE brand outside of the UK for the first time. In 2018, we launched ICE Africa and ICE Sports Betting USA, which subsequently transitioned to ICE North America and which is being held in Boston MA, across May 13 –15. ICE North America will serve as a stakeholder meeting place and provide the opportunity for brands to establish a competitive advantage in what is a tremendously dynamic market filled with opportunities and cross-collaboration across all our five key areas of focus. ICE is recognized as being the most respected event brand in the gaming space and has all of the necessary credentials and energy to be at the heart of the development of the industry in North America. Building on top of the incredible foundations laid by ICE Sports Betting USA and GiGse before it, we want to continue driving a dynamic approach to our events in the US, ensuring the speakers in Boston bring unique insight from both inside and outside of the gaming industry. ICE North America will provide a platform for companies to showcase their brands and connect with the best of the best from the multiverse of sports betting and interactive gaming.