The upcoming edition of ICE London, to be held February 7 – 9 at ExCel London, will be a special one for the major gaming expo because not only it promises to take the event back to its pre-pandemic glory days, but even surpass them. At a record 51,466 square meters of net space, occupying 41 halls, ICE 2023 will be the biggest on record yet, bouncing back stronger than ever and featuring many renowned land-based gaming vendors that were absent from last year’s meeting.
Ahead of the annual event, Yogonet held an exclusive interview with Stuart Hunter, Clarion Gaming Managing Director, on the highlights of the expo, what to expect this time around, and the profile of the exhibitors. Additionally, Hunter discusses trends that will be under the spotlight this year, as well as can’t-miss features such as the ICE VOX, the Consumer Protection Zone, the International Casino Conference, and much more.
What will the ICE London 2023 experience be like and what are your expectations in terms of attendance?
The industry in its broadest sense will be occupying all of the North and South side exhibition halls, every meeting room and all of the International Conference Centre at ExCeL which will host ICE VOX, the World Regulatory Briefing and the International Casino Conference. Having so many of the world’s most successful brands from every gaming vertical and every jurisdiction all together in one place is a phenomenal, not-to-be-missed opportunity for everyone involved in the gambling industry.
I’ve been involved in the Events industry long enough to know that it’s never a wise move to start predicting attendance figures! What I can say is that every metric that we use to measure a show is in positive territory and I anticipate that the mood will reflect the excitement which comes with having the industry back together and in one place.
How would you describe the profile of this year’s exhibitors?
The big news is that ICE 2023 will see the return of all of the major supplier brands to the land-based sector after what will be a three-year Covid-enforced absence. I think a key characteristic of ICE is the fact that it attracts exhibitors of all sizes, covering every gaming vertical and drawn from every jurisdiction.
As well as providing a professional home for the industry’s major brands, Clarion Gaming’s Pitch ICE programme offers start-ups the opportunity to showcase their solutions and innovative approaches in front of investors and visitors attending ICE London. Successful companies secure a free of charge pod on the Pitch ICE Pavilion for the duration of the show and the opportunity to take to the ICE stage and pitch to potential investors. We are delighted to be able to host start-up businesses and if we can help them to become the big players of the future.
What industry issues and developments should we expect to gain momentum at ICE this time around?
We spoke about this with our ICE Ambassador group of industry thought leaders who provide their insight and advice to us in an honorary capacity. The consensus was that advances in safer gambling and consumer protection would be high on the agenda, as would the interface between regulation and technology, the use of technology to reduce staffing on a casino floor, web3, payment processing via the blockchain, as well as equality, diversity and inclusion in the gaming space.
Whatever the hot topics I’m absolutely certain they will be manifest on the ICE London show floor, debated at ICE VOX and be the subject of discussion throughout the show.
ICE London's 2022 Consumer Protection Zone
The ICE London Consumer Protection Zone will feature a record 20 stands in this edition. What makes this feature so important to ICE?
The Consumer Protection Zone (CPZ) first appeared on the ICE London show floor in 2018 when it hosted eight exhibitors comprising a mix of technology providers and safer gambling charities. Since then, it has grown in size and adopted a new high profile, high foot fall location adjacent to the central boulevard at ExCeL London. The 20 exhibitors include the charities, treatment facilities and not-for-profit organisations that we gift the space to alongside commercial organisations, including providers of Responsible Gambling tools, solutions and technology.
The CPZ was recognised by the industry at the 2022 Global Regulatory Awards, where it won the Responsible Approach to Advertising/Marketing category, and is highly regarded throughout the international industry and is the go-to feature for anyone wanting to learn about the latest thinking and developments in safer gambling.
As Jonna Danlund, Head of Sustainability at Betsson Group argued, it’s essential for the industry to work together to promote responsible gaming and showcase the work that is being done as it is fundamental for the long-term sustainability of the industry and the well-being of customers. It’s a focal point for many visitors and its continued success demonstrates how important Safer Gambling is to the industry.
Can you explain a little more about the ICE VOX conferences?
ICE VOX is made up of our two flagship, world-leading conferences – the World Regulatory Briefing (WRB) and the International Casino Conference (ICC) – as well as four in-depth masterclasses. The new masterclass format was introduced in 2022 and has been enhanced in 2023 to offer exclusive content and a more comprehensive ICE experience.
The masterclasses are targeted events that are participatory in nature, restricted in size and focused on the segments they represent. The Masterclass topics comprise ‘Modernising Lotteries’, ‘Enhancing the iGaming Customer Journey’, ‘Entering New Markets’ and ‘The Evolution of Safer Gambling’. Tickets and more information can be found here.
A new show floor feature dedicated exclusively to licensed street gaming was announced ahead of the event. What led to the decision of curating this new space, and what are its main features?
Wherever possible we work in partnership with the industry and we were approached by the Gambling Business Group to create an at-show feature dedicated to the street sector. We listened to what they had to say, scoped out how it could work and collaborated with the GBG to bring its vision to life.
It will feature a programme of activities dealing with key issues including the far-reaching work that’s being undertaken by operators on the delivery of responsible gambling, the use of technology in street operations including digital payments and the deployment of facial recognition, recruitment, retention and staff development, the use of contemporary retailing disciplines to enhance the customer journey as well as practical issues relating to licensing and the law.
I know the Gambling Business Group will be seeking to meet with the governmental agencies which engage with the industry and will be inviting the many international regulators who attend ICE London to engage with the business leaders who are active in the street sector.
This edition sees ICE London return to its traditional dates, under the “Stronger Together” creative, as the world has now left the pandemic behind. Why should industry stakeholders not miss this edition?
Whilst ICE London 2022 was a tremendous success nothing compares with the return of a full-scale edition of ICE featuring all of the major supplier brands to the land-based sector. Having ExCeL bursting with the creativity and energy that drive the international gaming industry is a fantastic prospect. A full-size, dynamic ICE on its traditional dates is something that all sectors of the industry are looking forward to participating in.
Visitors know that when they make the investment to be part of the ICE experience, they do so safely in the knowledge that their week in London will be pivotal to their year. The common denominator whether they are an operator from South America, a machine developer from Europe, a regulator from Australia or a safer gambling charity working out of London is the power that ICE has to help stakeholders make the connections that power the industry.
ICE visitors will have access to a dynamic schedule of events delivering opportunities to connect and engage as soon as they make that short walk from the Elizabeth line at Custom House and through the doors at ExCeL London. It’s set to be a wonderful and I think an emotionally charged celebration of the global industry and an experience that’s not to be missed!