ICE London 2022 was the biggest, most comprehensive and most international gambling exhibition to take place since the previous edition of ICE in February 2020

Monday, 30 May 2022

A very interesting interview, as our magazine do from 12 years, where would we like to present to our readers important data about how was ICE London 2022, with the contribution of the CEO of Clarion Events, Mr. Stuart Hunter, who had the kindless to respond to our questions and from which we found for you that how was ICE London 2022 in terms of numbers/percentages and impresions and what Clarion prepare for next ICE which will be on 7-9 February 2023. All the informations provided by Stuart are bellow. Enjoy!

 

How was ICE Totally Gaming 2022 for the Clarion Events team? Are you satisfied with the results?

The lead-up to ICE London 2022 was unprecedented in terms of its complexity and the number of hurdles that the team had to overcome all as a result of issues that were beyond our control. The show was postponed three times due to Covid-19 most recently forcing us to move ICE to April as a temporary measure and a last option. From a professional perspective I was really proud of what the team and our exhibitors achieved. The exhibition floor looked fantastic, the creativity that our exhibitors applied to their presence at ICE was arguably the best anyone had experienced, our friends in the media turned out in force, the features looked magnificent and the visitor numbers were beyond what we had anticipated. I have been involved in the running of literally hundreds of exhibitions across numerous business sectors and you learn that the only opinion that really matters is that of the customers –  in the case of ICE – the exhibitors that were able to commit to the show and had faith that the brand would deliver and the visitors who travelled many thousands of miles from throughout the gambling world to be with us. I must stress, that set against the backdrop of the awful events in Ukraine there were many of our loyal customers who simply did not have such a choice and we continue to think about them. Returning to your question, only after the independent research that we undertake after every show has been completed will I be able to comment fully – essentially if our customers are happy then we can be happy as we plan for and focus on ICE 2023.

 

How many visitors and exhibitors were there this year?

In terms of visitors, we are waiting for the final figures to be audited and will confirm those accordingly. The benchmark used by the UK events industry is for returning exhibitions to be some 30% smaller both in terms of physical size and visitor numbers compared to pre-pandemic. In broad terms at ICE London 2022 over 25,000 attendees from 158 countries had the opportunity to connect with 400+ brands and see 1,800 products and services making their show debut. As a team we are extremely pleased with these figures. There was some speculation that ICE would lose its international credentials due to the difficulties involved in international travel but ICE visitors came to London in significant numbers. I have to reiterate that despite all of the problems, all of the concerns and all of the speculation – ICE London 2022 was the biggest, most comprehensive and most international gambling exhibition to take place since the previous edition of ICE in February 2020.

 

In the end how much did the covid pandemic impact ICE?

There’s no doubt that some gambling professionals simply felt unable to make the journey to London this year. This was a very personal choice and one that we respect totally. For audiences at home, we invested in multiple options for connecting to ICE 2022. The International Casino Conference was broadcast live via ICE365.com, which was followed by a three-day schedule of exclusive interviews, highlights, shots of the show floor and presentations from the ICE365 Live studio which provided rolling coverage of everything taking place at ExCeL London. Those members of the industry who were not able to attend or want to recap on the event can now watch all of the content on demand: https://ice365.com/content-type/videos/

 

How was the ICE VOX conference received?

We know from the research that we undertake how important ICE VOX is to the industry and the contribution it makes to the overall ICE London experience. Our challenge has always been how to combine the benefits of learning from and networking with industry thought leaders with being able to spend sufficient time on the show floor exploring the many hundreds of product launches and speaking with the industry innovators. The new Masterclass format that we introduced for ICE VOX this year was very well-received because it enabled delegates to do exactly that. ICE VOX still delivered a detailed analysis of the key business-centric issues of the moment but the timetable provided the flexibility to spend the necessary amount of time on the show floor.

 

What sectors experienced the most important growth at ICE 2022?

There was so much taking place on the show floor that it’s difficult to single out specific sectors. I would probably point readers to the esports feature at ICE LondonI believe that Clarion was way ahead of the curve when it introduced esports to the show floor in 2020. Clarion’s esports team headed by Will Harding has done and continues to do a fantastic job in demystifying the sector and demonstrating how operators can tap into a global phenomenon that’s generating annual betting revenues estimated to be worth over $13bn. Our job as show organisers is to do more than simply provide a snap shot of what’s happening in the gambling world: I believe we should also be working hard to identify opportunities and to unlock doors. The ICE London Esports Arena is a vivid illustration of just that.

 

One of the most interesting parts of ICE 2022 was Pitch ICETell us more about this interesting project for industry start-ups?

There’s a danger that commentators just associate ICE with the industry’s big hitters when the reality is that we have a responsibility to the entire gambling ecosystem which includes those enterprises that are starting-out on their journey. ICE has a proud record for providing a platform for fledgling businesses courtesy of initiatives such as Pitch ICE. This year the Pitch ICE finalists as well as being given an invaluable opportunity to present their businesses to a community of influential investors, were also given space on the show floor. The dream scenario is for those businesses that started off at ICE to grow and develop into bigger enterprises. The day prior to the opening of ICE London, VAIX a former Pitch ICE participant was acquired by Sportradar: it’s so important and so gratifying to be able to look back and say that we contributed to that success in some small way. In my opinion this is why the ICE brand is part of the development of the industry and it underlines the importance and strength of ‘together’.

 

The next edition of ICE is scheduled to be on 7-9 February 2023. Does that mean you consider the pandemic to be over, and what do you consider to be the most important challenges for ICE?

Our starting point has been to take the dates that the industry prefers and the options that exist for hosting such a mammoth event – the world’s biggest gambling exhibition. We are also working with our trade body the Association of Exhibition Organisers with regards to gaining insight on what may or may not happen with future viruses. On the basis of both information streams, we have opted for February. Planning for ICE 2023 started some time ago and to a certain extent we have seen ICE 2022 and ICE 2023 as two landmarks in the same campaign. I believe that we have established a very strong platform, that the members of the industry who attended ICE London 2022 were pleased with the experience and those who were unable to be with us in person will feel more confident about travelling to London next year. This event has a special place in the history of the industry, it’s where innovators choose to launch their latest products and services, it’s where strategies are formulated and where the future of the industry is written. Throughout the last two years we have maintained a positive dialogue with all of our exhibitors who we regard as life-time customers. At ICE London 2022 and more recently at NIGA we have been able to sit down with decision makers and plan their return to the ICE London show floor. Having all sectors of the industry firing on all cylinders and together once again will be wonderful and something that we are 100% focussed on delivering for February 2023.

Clarion present CHIPS wheel chairs at ICE London

Clarion Gaming chose the international platform provided by ICE London, the world’s biggest b2b gambling expo, to present two bespoke powered wheelchairs to the gambling industry charity CHIPS. The chairs have provided twin sisters 13-year old Ava and Nieve Paling, who have a diagnosis of spastic paraplegia which causes fatigue and reduced strength, with the gifts of independence and freedom at an important stage in their social development.

Linda Lindsay, co-founder of CHIPS which was established by executives working in the land-based casino sector, said: “On behalf of the charity, my Trustees and most importantly Ava, Nieve and the family I would like to place on the record my heart-felt thanks to Stuart and the entire team at Clarion Gaming for their fantastic and generous support.”

She added: “With the twins becoming teenagers they naturally want to spend time with their friends but without an adult to push them, their independence has been severely restricted. Mum cannot push both girls together, which means that going out as a family has become impossible.

“Thanks to the support of Clarion Gaming the twins who love dance and horse riding now have lightweight wheelchairs with a ‘tri-ryde’ accessory which turns the chair into a powered chair. The chairs that we provide and that organisations such as Clarion Gaming kindly fund quite simply transform the lives of the recipients and their families.”

Stuart Hunter, Managing Director, Clarion Gaming stated: “We are delighted to support CHIPS which is a fantastic charity that’s part of the fabric of the land-based gambling industry.  Neither Linda or her fellow trustees claim a penny in expenses which means that 100% of the funds raised go towards the purchase of bespoke chairs. Presenting close to 600 powered wheelchairs and changing so many lives in the process is a phenomenal achievement and as a team we are proud to contribute to the CHIPS success story.”





Author: Editor

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