At the beginning of September Clarion Events, the British based company responsible for some of gaming’s best known international brands including ICE, ICE Conferences, GiGse and EiG, announced that it had come to an agreement to buy a controlling interest in the Slot Summit and Slot Academy brands created by respected industry personality Lucien Wijsman. We caught up with Lucien at the Clarion head office in London as he prepares for the European edition of the Slot Summit, which is being held in the French City of Lille across 25-27 November.
“The partnership with Clarion is a fantastic opportunity for me to grow my baby,” Lucien explained. “Clarion shares the same principles, the same outlook, the same philosophy and the same hunger that led me to start this journey 10 years ago and which still drives me to this day. Furthermore the support team and infrastructure I now have access to, has the expertise and skill set to do the things that I’m weakest on, allowing me to focus on content – it’s a dream for me.”
Wijsman, one of the most engaging personalities and compelling speakers on the international gaming circuit, confirmed that under the terms of the agreement he would remain fully involved with the business, retaining a significant shareholding as well as an executive position on the board. He will also continue to deliver training, developing content and nurturing a cohort of expert trainers for the Slot Summit.
Explaining the thinking behind the investment Julian Graves, Managing Director, Clarion Events Gaming Division, said: “Lucien brings to our gaming portfolio a deep understanding of the industry which will help the team deliver more effectively at all levels of the business. It was obvious there was a clear fit between Lucien’s vision and Clarion’s event and research brands which when brought together would allow us both to offer a wider range of services, extend and deepen The next development for the Slot Summit brand is a consolidation into a single European event, taking place in Lille in November. Running just one summit in Europe, means there will be a wider audience with gaming professionals coming from the UK and Ireland, France, the German speaking countries, Scandinavia, Italy and Spain – amongst others. To cater for this more cosmopolitan audience the organising team will be providing simultaneous translations in French, English, Italian and German as a minimum, with the scope to increase the number if there is the demand.
Providing some insight to the programme content, Lucien explained: “We will have a sharp focus on bingo which is becoming increasingly important, particularly in France. I’m not disclosing any names but you can be assured that the speakers will be leaders in their field. The feedback to our themed sessions was so positive that we are extending them in 2014. One of the topics is Multi-Media Management and there will be short presentations to showcase the latest products and technology available. Drawing some inspiration from outside the gaming space we will also have the Marketing Manager from Chanel France to explain how this famous brand uses monitors to communicate with its customers.
“There will be a session on Scent Marketing featuring a senior executive from leading US company ScentAir which will examine how this marketing tool is being adapted for use in smoking rooms and how it impacts bottom line revenues. Aleksey Belinskiy, lead architect at Steelman Partners will be sharing his insight on how interior architecture is being deployed to dovetail with different casino player profiles. We have worked hard to bring some fascinating topics to the Summit all of which have a very real impact on casino profitability.”
Looking beyond Europe, details have been released for Slot Summit Latin America & Caribbean, which will be held across 10th-12th December at the Hilton Hotel in Bogota. “This is a really excellent venue which is close to the ‘go to’ entertainment district in Bogota, Colombia” stated Lucien. “The hot topic is Server Based Gaming and the changes in regulations which have taken place in that part of the world. We will be announcing more details closer to the time but I think the content will be compelling particularly for the target Latin American audience.”
Reflecting on what has been a watershed period for the events that he launched a decade ago, Lucien concluded: “I have been a great admirer of what Clarion has brought to the industry both in terms of launching new brands, nurturing existing brands and in the case of ICE re-launching a brand and turning it into what it is today, the world’s biggest and most favourite gaming event. Both the Slot Academy and the Slot Summit are very personal to me and I feel totally comfortable that we share the same vision, and confident that our agreement will enable us to take them to the next level.”