IGaming Executives Question Relevance Of ICE In Its Current Format
ICE London 2022 is kicking off on April 12 to 14, as 30,000 attendees from 54 countries meet to discuss the online casino industry and its latest innovations with other movers and shakers in the business.
The exhibition, at ExCeL London, will host around 450 key casino and software providers from the iGaming world, whose representatives can find new business opportunities and make hot contacts.
ICE London will feature the ICE365 Live studio, beaming chats from industry figures to your home, an esports arena, a consumer protection zone, Pitch ICE, which allows start-ups to sell their project, the Ampersand research initiative and a Most Influential Women Day.
CasinoSource VP Lee Gwilliam, who will be at the event, said: “ICE, and the London Affiliate Conference (LAC) represent one of the largest opportunities of the year for gambling firms to liaise with partners from all areas of the supply chain ecosystem.
“For us, it's nice to get back after so long away, to spend time with existing partners, monitor new trends and negotiate potential new business.”
IGaming Firms Pull Out Of ICE London 2022
However, several iGaming firms have made a u-turn on attending the event, raising the question if ICE is still the place to be for networking and doing business. Bulgarian provider Euro Games Technology (EGT) pulled out in February citing covid risks and the importance of Easter, while Softswiss and BGaming are staying at home so they can provide financial support to Ukraine instead.
Austrian online slots provider Novomatic, founded by billionaire Johann Graf, also withdrew due to ‘a multitude of adverse aspects,’ such as the pandemic, logistics and a date that was inconvenient for them. But they did emphasize that ‘ICE is a key trade show for the entire gaming industry’. The German offline and online slots company Merkur will not attend either, fearing a potential substantial investment would not show a positive return.
Nadiya Attard, CCO at Relax Gaming, who make video slots, poker and online bingo games, told Casino Beats: “I'm expecting to truly appreciate the value of face-to-face meetings once again. A Zoom meeting doesn’t hold a candle to the productivity of a group of like-minded people in a room together.”
She said, however, the pandemic had forced iGaming companies to think outside the box, and she expected this to lead to exciting ideas, which always come to light at the ICE event. “I wouldn’t miss this year’s show for the world,” She added.
SiGMA and SBC Overtaking ICE Says CasinoSource VP
CasinoSource’s Lee Gwilliam added: “With that being said, ICE and LAC have faced criticism and examination of their relevance in recent years, with shows such as SiGMA in Malta and SBC events gradually taking over as the ‘place to be’ on the annual calendar.
“I think, especially with the pull out of so many exhibitors, a lot of us will be asking ourselves if this is the last time London is an essential show to attend. If the event this year declines further in standards, many will rethink their commitment to future attendance.”
It could just be bad timing for some iGaming brands but with other networking events becoming popular, those in the industry will have to wait and see what the future holds for ICE, while the event’s organisers will hope things don’t cool off too much.
The ICE Vox conference is also taking place at ExCeL London until April 13, giving iGaming experts the platform to discuss the world of casino, advances in technology, customer experience, how to create a star online slot game, plus esports and more.
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