Kate Chambers, Managing Director, Clarion Gaming, was kind enough to give us the interview that has already become traditional for our magazine, about what is to happen at ICE London every year. In 2020, it looks like we will be part of an incursion into the future of gambling as they will probably be over 10-15 years or less. In addition, we discussed the importance of responsible gambling and the increasing social involvement of this event in the global life of the gambling industry. Figures, estimates, trends, and what the future of ICE London will look like, you will find everything in the pages that follow.
Which will be the most interesting novelties at ICE 2020 and what will be the big thing of this edition?
We have introduced a new format and new tracks for ICE VOX, our Totally Gaming Academy will be providing taster sessions of its courses and we have introduced major new features, not least the Esports Arena that will co-host a $250,000 US prize money tournament. It’s the largest feature that we have ever had at ICE London, comprising some 800 sqm. Undertaken and developed in partnership with GG.BET, it will feature a custom built stage, an educational auditorium, commentator ICE box, partner DATA.BET lounge, a themed bar and a betting hatch allowing players to ‘bet’ ICE and GG.BET chips in order to simulate eSports wagering. The Esports Arena will provide visitors with the practical tool kit and strategic insights necessary to take full commercial advantage of what is one of the industry’s fastest growing wagering sectors. We will have eight of the best Counter Strike teams in the world competing, playing real-time games which will be streamed to fans around the world, all of which will be live on the ICE London show floor. For land-based operators interested in how to produce a tournament, we will be effectively building an authentic eSports show live in front of them. Highlighting the level of production necessary to deliver a tournament on this scale, the Arena will allow delegates to go behind the scenes with our production team, as well as providing player interviews throughout the competition, showcasing broadcast editing insights and delivering tournament structure and data/performance analysis. The educational auditorium will feature a full schedule of presentations on topics such as how to use eSports data to create odds, eSports recruiting and eSports wagering. It promises to be one of the most exciting and ambitious initiatives that we have ever undertaken, enabling our delegates to ‘dive into the future’. Add to this our Pitch ICE initiative for fledgling businesses and upwards of 70 first-time exhibitors and you have an incredibly exciting, vibrant and best-in–breed gaming technology proposition with the focus firmly on the future.
How important is the promotion of responsible gambling to ICE London?
It’s incredibly important. Wherever we take the ICE brand in the world, social responsibility is at the top of the industry and the political agenda. Not only is there a moral dynamic to the debate, but there’s also a strong business one with a robust commitment to social responsibility being the precursor to progressive regulation. Our Consumer Protection Zone demonstrates the importance we place on responsible gaming. We launched the Consumer Protection Zone (CPZ) in 2018 and the third CPZ will be over 30% bigger than its predecessor and located in a more prominent position next to the Red Tiger Ampersand VIP Lounge in N1 at ExCeL London. The CPZ feature is an important part of the ICE London experience for many of our influential stakeholders and situating it next to the Red Tiger Ampersand VIP Lounge will lead to more important connections being established between our charity partners and distinguished visitors. As well as hosting educational sessions at the CPZ, we will be working with exhibitors to arrange a programme of pop-up talks throughout the show, delivering a clear message that consumer protection is at the heart of the entire industry, and not just a feature on an exhibition floor. The developments have been extremely well received by sponsoring organisations and charities alike, with Lee Willows, co-founder and chief executive of YGAM, describing it as an exceptional platform to raise awareness. So far, our industry sponsors comprising 888 Holdings, ALEA, Aspers, bet365, Gamesys Group, Genting Casinos, GVC Group, Kindred Group PLC, LeoVegas Group, Sky Betting & Gaming and Videoslots have raised an incredible £60,000 which will be awarded to a gambling industry charity. It’s an amazing amount of money and approaching double the £35,000 raised last year. From all of my discussions, it’s clear that the industry wants to operate within a well-regulated sector or environment. When stakeholders walk through the doors at ExCeL London on 4 February I want them to see and experience a creative industry that has social responsibility at its core.
How many visitors are estimated to attend this year? And exhibitors? How many square meters will be covered by the exhibition this year?
Visitor numbers are difficult to project, but our pre-registration figures are on track and we hope to be able to continue our upward trajectory and, in the process, register what would be our ninth consecutive year of growth. The number of exhibitor brands on the ICE London show floor totals 633 – compared to 612 in 2019. In terms of its physical size, in 2020 ICE London will occupy 49,500 sqm of net floor space (47,500 in 2019) and take over 40 of the 44 halls at ExCeL London (38 in 2019).
What will be the most important plus at ICE 2020 compared with other exhibitions?
There are a number of characteristics that differentiate ICE London from other exhibitions on the gaming industry calendar. Obviously there’s the scale of the event both in terms of the number of visitors (36,093 in 2019) and its physical size. Clearly, ICE London is a significant event and one which provides visitors with an opportunity to meet with exhibitors and innovators across every gaming vertical and from every major gaming jurisdiction. I can’t think of any other events that can provide such a comprehensive take on the industry from every angle. However, there’s more to ICE than just outstanding numbers. When delegates come to ICE London, as our creative campaign states, they step into the future. While other shows hark back to the past and what used to be, the exhibitors at ICE London have a sharp focus on what is to come. It is an agile, dynamic business exhibition that reflects the personality of one of the world’s most exciting sectors. 35,000+ gaming professionals are preparing to come to London in order to experience the future.
What can you tell me about ICE VOX from this year?
We have amended the format of ICE VOX 2020. Following consultation with delegates and members of Clarion Gaming’s Ampersand community, we have added a second day to the International Casino Conference, which will focus on hospitality tech and innovation. Leading conferences such as ICE VOX have to maintain a dialogue with their stakeholders and adapt both content and format to meet the strategic needs of businesses, both land-based and online. We believe the new format will help to consolidate the brand’s reputation for meeting the 360º strategic needs of the industry.
On a practical note, we have acted on the market feedback to use single-space areas to improve sound, with all tracks taking place in the same location. In addition, the first floor of the Platinum Suite at ExCeL London will be set aside as a dedicated space where delegates can have client meetings away from the bustle of the show floor and to network with other senior members of the international gaming industry, including legislators and regulators. Attracting delegates from over 80 countries, ICE VOX remains the most international conference in the world, enabling it to set the future agenda for the entire global industry. The streams comprise the International Casino Conference (3 and 4 February), with Hospitality Technology on the second day, the World Regulatory Briefing (3 and 4 February), Modernising Lotteries (3 February), Cybercrime and Security (4 February) and the Advertising and Marketing Conference (4 February). The ICE VOX Keynote will take place on the mornings of the 3 and 4 February, of which we will be confirming details shortly. Comprehensive information on all of the ICE VOX streams can be found at: www.icelondon.uk.com/ice-vox
What is the future of ICE in years who come?
That’s a very good question! In an industry that moves at such a pace and which is such an early adopter of new technologies, it’s impossible to predict with any sense of accuracy. What I can say is that the growth that has been enjoyed by ICE London has taken place only because the brand listens to its stakeholders and works in partnership with them. If you work with the market and deliver what the market wants, you can’t go too far wrong!
ICE London (4-6 February 2020, ExCeL London, UK) and ICE VOX (3-4 February) represent the world’s largest gaming technology and learning events. Featuring world-leading innovators drawn from the betting, bingo, casino, eSports, lottery, mobile, online, payments, social, sports betting and street gaming sectors, ICE London provides unique access to the entire gaming universe. To access the 633 international exhibitors who will be at ExCeL London for three days of business development and learning, register for tickets at: www.icelondon.uk.com