The last edition of ICE to be held in London kicks off today, Tuesday, with the event’s organizers expecting a record attendance before the event relocates to Barcelona starting in January 2025. The expo will be held from February 6 to 8 at ExCeL London, the venue that has hosted ICE since 2013, and will feature 700+ exhibitors from across the globe. Sister show iGB Affiliate, aimed at the iGaming affiliate community, runs Feb. 6 – 9, also at the ExCeL exhibition center.
Clarion Gaming, ICE’s organizer, expects the event, along with iGB Affiliate and the ICE VOX education program, to facilitate over 1 million business meetings this week. Stuart Hunter, Clarion’s Managing Director, noted that 7,000+ delegates were already using the events’ apps to arrange an average of 20 meetings per user.
ICE’s latest edition is running the “ICE Gives You MORE” creative and tagline in support of the event, appearing across all media channels and marketing assets in the lead-up to the show. The theme relates to “both the quality and quantity” offered by ICE, according to Clarion, and its ability to facilitate “more and better business connections.”
“I think ICE 2024 will go down in history as being an ‘I was there’ event. There’s no doubt that it will be an extremely poignant occasion for many of our exhibitors who will be saying their own farewell to London,” Hunter told Yogonet in an exclusive interview back in December.
“The strength of ICE is that the show caters to and represents every gaming vertical in every gaming jurisdiction. It is the holistic nature of the exhibition that makes it such an important date in the international industry calendar and why so many people from so many countries are so keen to experience it.”
New and classic features
This time around, the show’s focus on connecting attendees with the global market will be facilitated through a slate of high-profile features, many of them already familiar to long-time attendees, including the Esports Arena, the Consumer Protection Zone, The High Street Hub, iGB INTRODUCING, iGB ASCEND, and the IGB Affiliate Awards.
In addition, Clarion Gaming is staging the EVOLVE by Fire & ICE Opening Party, taking place today at Magazine London. The ticketed event is the only official party of ICE’s last London edition, and is set to facilitate corporate networking and entertainment for a large assembly of VIPs in the gaming industry. The organizing team expects up to 5,000 guests.
The Consumer Protection Zone (CPZ) in particular has been highlighted as a can’t-miss feature of ICE 2024. This year’s edition of the CPZ is the biggest on record, comprising 20 booths showcasing technology and solutions providers alongside safer gambling charities.
Andrew Rhodes, Chief Executive of the UK Gambling Commission, will officially open the zone at 11.30 am today, following a donation of £41,000 ($44,690) to a safer gambling charity chosen by CPZ supporters and donors. This amount, raised through contributions from major brands including Light & Wonder, Flutter, Betsson Group, IGT, Novomatic, Neccton, and Playtech, brings the total donated by CPZ supporters to £238,000 over the past four years.
Ewa Bakun, Clarion’s Director of Industry Insight and Engagement, said: “ICE became the first B2B gambling exhibition to include an area on the show floor dedicated to safer gambling. Since its launch in 2018 the CPZ has grown in both size and status to the extent that post-show research has confirmed it as the most popular ICE feature by show visitors.”
However, ICE 2024 attendees will also find new features along with the classics. This year’s event will see the debut of the Growth Markets Zone, focused on the emerging Latin American and African markets. The brand-new area will comprise around 15 suppliers and innovators, and is tailored to businesses looking to broaden their scope and connect with companies in these two high-growth regions.
“Part of the feedback following ICE 2023 revealed a demand to target gaming growth markets, specifically those in Latin America and on the continent of Africa,” said Andy Ventris, ICE Event Director, explaining the rationale behind the new zone. Clarion worked with partners in both markets, including Liliana Costa, Clarion Gaming Latin America Liaison, and John Bamidele, ICE’s Africa Ambassador, for this initiative.
Another feature being introduced in this edition is Fast Forward, billed as “a focal point where the gaming industry can discover, discuss and shape the future.” The feature, aimed at start-ups wanting to connect with potential investors, will allow these innovators to showcase “the technology of tomorrow” to those who are going to bring it to market.
“Fast Forward is for thinkers, thought-leaders, doers, disruptors, creators, explorers, serial entrepreneurs and the visionaries who keep the industry moving at break-neck speed. In fact, in many ways, Fast Forward encapsulates what ICE is all about,” Hunter told Yogonet.
A stacked educational program
In addition to a show floor full of innovations and technology advancements, ICE will also be home to a varied lineup of educational activities facilitating insights from international thought leaders, decision-makers and regulators across all gaming sectors and verticals, courtesy of the ICE VOX learning platform.
The ICE VOX program for 2024 was held on Monday with the International Casino Conference (ICC). The one-day event brought together the “who’s who” of the global casino industry, with leaders from around the world gathered to discuss the future of the land-based sector. New projects, gaming politics, emerging markets and strategic developments driving change in the sector were discussed as part of the ICC.
MORE is the creative for ICE's 2024 edition
Meanwhile, the World Regulatory Briefing (WrB) is slated to play a vital role in communicating global gaming shifts, regulatory updates, new markets and the evolution of consumer protection, bringing together key stakeholders from multiple jurisdictions under one roof.
Highlights include WrB’s country-specific roundtables, where delegates can stop off at different ‘destinations’ to meet the relevant regulator and gaming companies in an informal setting. As well as the ICC and WrB, ICE VOX also delivers a series of in-depth, specialist workshops which in 2024 comprise the iGaming Customer Journey Workshop, Safer Gaming, Innovating Lotteries and a workshop providing insight on Entering New Markets.
The Esports Betting Conference is also held within the ICE VOX framework, enabling delegates to explore the landscape of Esports wagering drawing on expert insights from brands including Rivalry and Better Collective. The event complements the action taking place at the Esports Arena, which this year will be run under an F1 theme, with two professional racers competing head-to-head to demonstrate the dynamic world of Esports racing.
All in all, over 150 thought leaders, policy-makers, industry commentators, trade association CEOs and politicians will participate at ICE VOX from February 5 to 8. The speakers participating in this year’s edition of ICE VOX include key figures such as MGM Resorts CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle; Simon Thomas, Executive Chair of London’s Hippodrome Casino; Isabelle Falque Pierrotin, Chair of both the French Gambling Authority and GREF; and the UK Gambling Commission’s Tim Miller, among others.
ICE’s farewell to London
This year’s ICE is set to be a remarkable one for several reasons, including an expected record number of visitors, the debut of several high-profile innovations across the show floor, and the expansive scope of its education and networking programs. But without a debut, the fact that ICE 2024 marks the last edition in London has dominated a big part of the conversation – ICE is leaving its home in the UK’s capital and bringing an end to a 12-year tenure at ExCeL.
ExCeL will host ICE for a last time this week
Barcelona is set to transform into the host city for ICE and iGB Affiliate from 2025, following an extensive bidding process that concluded in August last year. The vibrant Spanish city was selected from a four-city shortlist, competing alongside Madrid, Paris and London.
The ICE relocation project, run in partnership with event strategy and location specialist Equimore, factored more than 30 variables into its decision-making process. Venue visits, city presentations and negotiations also took place in deciding to make Barcelona the new home of ICE and iGB.
The ICE Advisory Board, comprising a range of international brands active in online and land-based gaming, endorsed the decision to move the event to the 240,000 square meter Fira de Barcelona on a five-year contract from 2025 to 2029. Next year’s edition will run from 20-22 January.
“ExCeL London has been the home for ICE since 2013 after the show relocated from Earls Court. The venue provided an environment in which both ICE and iGB Affiliate were able to develop, meet the business needs of their stakeholders and grow in status as two of the most important live events in their respective sectors,” Hunter told Yogonet.
“We remain committed to ExCeL London as a great destination and are looking forward to bringing iGB L!VE to London in July 2025 to continue this legacy and provide the perfect backdrop for this fast-growing event’s future in London. “
However, despite the strong emotional element attached to ICE 2024, Clarion promises some “very serious business to be done,” having worked in partnership with stakeholders and organizations such as the European Casino Association to deliver “a landmark show that exceeds expectations.”
“Every trend, every advance in new technology and every vertical will be discussed, debated and dissected, on the stands, in the networking areas, in the coffee shops, restaurants, pubs and bars which ICE visitors frequent,” said Hunter.