By all accounts, ICE Totally Gaming 2017 was quite a show, to borrow some of the classic British affinity for understatement.

Indeed, billed as the world’s biggest gaming technology event that featured world-leading innovators drawn from the casino, betting, bingo, lottery, mobile, online, social, sports betting and street gaming sectors in addition to 500 international exhibitors, ICE 2017 gathered a record 30,213 visitors during its three day run at ExCeL London Exhibition Center last February. The figure represents the sixth consecutive year of growth for ICE, and is a 5.7 percent uptick on the previous best which was set the year prior.

Such a sustained run of success does present a challenge for show organizers Clarion Gaming, to wit: How do you once again top what you have already done? For ICE Totally Gaming 2018, which will take place February 6-8 at ExCeL London, Clarion will offer a host of new session content, content tracks and one-of-a-kind specialty areas on the tradeshow floor.

Kate Chambers, managing director for Clarion Gaming, recently answered some questions regarding this year’s ICE and what the company is doing to both differentiate and grow the event. Some of her replies in this press release are excerpted below:

ICE 2017 was another record breaking event with more than 30,000 visitors, 151 nations represented and more net space occupied by international gaming innovators than ever before. How do you improve on this performance?

CHAMBERS: Well what you don’t do is sit back, take your foot off the pedal and wallow in a sea of self-congratulations. Of course, it’s gratifying to have met the vast majority of our objectives; for ICE to have grown for the sixth consecutive year and to have delivered on behalf of our stakeholders. It’s a cliché, but in my business you are only as good as your last show and that truism means that the focus has to be on how we address those areas which didn’t go to plan, to maximize on those that did and to add to the ICE London experience. It sounds a very simplistic approach, but our job is to continually improve and enhance the experience, which starts when people register to attend online and ends when they arrive back home. Enhancements can be macro, in terms of new features or sections, but they can also be smaller or incremental improvements. The key thing is to never stand still.

What macro changes can visitors expect to experience at ICE?

CHAMBERS: The most tangible are the addition of new sections for payments and the Consumer Protection Zone, both of which are firsts for ICE London.

The ICE Payment Solutions Section, comprising 4,000 square meters of space, will provide a focal point for international visitors wanting to meet and engage with the key innovators and thought leaders in the sector. The purpose of ICE is to showcase and reflect the dominant trends in gaming and payments is a case in point. We were approached by a number of leading players wanting to utilize ICE as a platform to reflect these innovations and to create a meeting point for all those international visitors with an interest in the latest technologies and advances. I am delighted that we have been able to respond to the needs of the industry in this way and I am confident the resource that we are putting behind the ICE Payment Solutions Section will be well received by visitors.

We will also be promoting the social responsibility message with the launch of the Consumer Protection Zone. The Zone will provide a focus for the social responsibility message and feature key organizations that are promoting social responsibility, as well as being a platform for presentations. The Zone is the latest in a series of social responsibility initiatives undertaken by Clarion Gaming, which includes the annual World Regulatory Briefing on Responsible Gambling Innovation, held in London in the autumn, and the Responsible Gaming Academy training, run by the Totally Gaming Academy.

Wherever Clarion operates, social responsibility is one of the most important topics and that’s across both emergent and mature gaming markets. Although we are not part of the operating community, I believe strongly that we also have a responsibility to serve as a forum for discussion and knowledge exchange. We will be creating an agenda with demos and presentations from regulators, providers and operators. We also hope to bring government officials, policy-makers and regulators to The Zone as part of the World Regulatory Assembly (WrA) and International Legislators’ Day program. The industry has made important headway in helping to make gambling an entertainment experience, as opposed to a negative or destructive one, and there have been some really significant technology-driven advances in the fields of responsible gambling using data analytics. It’s totally appropriate that these are showcased at ICE London.

ICE London 2018 will comprise a record 43,500 square meters of net space—what does this growth mean to the industry?

CHAMBERS: We have been very careful to grow ICE at a manageable pace and avoid the boom bust scenario you might associate with an overheating economy. While ICE 2018 is nearly twice the size of the 2012 edition, which was the last held at Earls Court, a lot of that growth has been facilitated by the move to ExCeL London and our ability to meet the needs of exhibitors. Our strategy, wherever we operate in the world, is to work with the industry to create events and opportunities that help meet business objectives. The expansion of ICE has been driven by demand and reflects the dynamics of the international market, which views London as the once-in-the-year opportunity to engage with a really significant and influential community of buyers and influencers, which in 2017 travelled to ICE from 151 jurisdictions. This is great news for gaming organizations who we know want a flagship event that showcases the world’s leading innovators from every gaming vertical. Gaming is a global industry and ICE is its global event.

You have announced the launch of ICE Africa… can you explain your thinking behind this?

CHAMBERS: Our strategy has always been to partner with the industry and that’s exactly what we have done in Africa. After a successful experience on the continent, where we tested the water with our Gaming Africa event, we took the strategic decision to fast track our presence, transitioning the 2018 event into the first ICE Africa, which will comprise an exhibition and co-located ICE VOX style conference dedicated to the development of the domestic industry. While the scale of ICE Africa will not be the same as ICE London, we will be bringing the same level of commitment, thinking, creativity and professionalism that has made ICE London the world’s favorite and most international gaming expo. ICE Africa will be an event where the industry can meet, network, see the very latest gaming innovations, and share best practice and progress in a strategic and sustainable manner. The ICE Africa team is already in place and working with our stakeholders in order to deliver on our pledge to create a world class business event for the continent.  Every business decision such as this comes with its own risks, but we have to be prepared to be bold and to act decisively. The industry is behind us and I’m confident that, providing we remain true to our brand vision and principles, ICE Africa will be a success.

Someone described ICE as the Davos of gaming—do you recognize that description?

CHAMBERS: I think it’s a very flattering description. Davos brings together the most influential economic and political leaders in the world. ICE London does a similar thing in so far as we host international gaming regulators, industry thought leaders, the CEOs of every major international gaming organization, elected politicians and the vast majority of trade associations drawn from every continent. When an event develops momentum, these types of credentials start to come to the fore. If observers choose to refer to ICE London as the Davos of gaming, I’m certainly not going to object!

If ICE is the shop window for gaming, do you think it could have a bigger role in helping to shape the opinion of regulators and legislators?

CHAMBERS: That’s not really for me to say. My job, and that of my team, is to deliver a 360 degree take on the international gaming industry and to present it in an ultra-professional manner and in a way that stakeholders can feel proud of. Stakeholders already use ICE to showcase the credentials of the industry to a broad audience and we will always work to accommodate any initiatives they want to progress.

You launched your Ampersand Think Tank initiative at G2E Las Vegas. Why there and, more importantly, what is Ampersand?

CHAMBERS: We actually undertook a soft launch at our WrB Responsible Gambling Innovation event held in London in September. G2E gave us the opportunity to introduce it to an influential gaming audience and to generate some interest and traction ahead of ICE London. The aim is to make Ampersand the biggest think tank in gaming, comprising a representative cross-section of industry verticals, jurisdictions, job functions and channels. I envisage Ampersand working on a number of levels. It will enable us to validate ideas and concepts prior to launch, it will introduce a process and structure for customers to provide their feedback—both positive and negative—and it will enable the industry to make suggestions on how we can work more effectively to help in the development of sustainable gaming economies, particularly in emergent markets. We are always keen to explore new formats favored by the industry and to receive suggestions for great new speakers, and Ampersand will provide swift and direct access to the decision making process. It delivers a valuable opportunity to help shape event content. Industry professionals who agree to participate in Ampersand will receive a number of benefits in recognition of their time, including entry to The Lounge at ICE London, as well as access to intelligence reports and surveys produced by the team at Clarion Gaming.

To learn more about ICE Totally Gaming and register for this year’s event, visit: www.icetotallygaming.com


100 speakers, 64 hours of learning confirmed for ICE VOX 2018

Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen, Sarah Harrison, CEO, UK Gambling Commission, and Jodie Fullagar, head of entertainment, M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment, will be among the 100 plus speakers sharing their insight and knowledge at ICE VOX, the world gaming industry’s most comprehensive learning and knowledge exchange event. Part of the ICE London experience, the ICE VOX conference program comprises eight tracks running from February 5-7 at ExCeL London.

“The 2018 edition will feature 64 hours of learning covering eight tracks and delivered by thought leaders drawn from both within and outside the gaming industry,” said Clarion Gaming’s Sadie Walters. “ICE VOX has been curated to provide insights and knowledge which deliver tangible benefits that delegates can take back to their businesses and improve performance. We have worked closely with the industry to ensure ICE VOX reflects the dominant themes and trends, hence the inclusion of two new tracks comprising the eSports Conference and Blockchain.”

“Our research has shown how much importance the industry places on the learning program that’s in place as part of the ICE London experience,” Walters added. “Co-locating gaming’s most comprehensive learning event with the world’s most influential gaming technology exhibition provides delegates with an opportunity to understand more about a particular strand of gaming and go on to meet the leading exponents within that sector on the ICE show floor. This is an opportunity which is unique to ICE London and one which ranks highly in our post-event market research.”

The eight tracks of ICE VOX 2018 include the World Regulatory Briefing; the International Casino Conference; World Regulatory Briefing; Data Science and Personalization; The eSports Conference; Blockchain; Modernizing Lotteries; and Cybercrime and Security.


Totally Gaming Academy is on course for landmark ICE

The Totally Gaming Academy (TGA) will be celebrating some notable landmarks when it brings its specially curated taster courses to ICE London.

Widely regarded as the pre-eminent training and development resource in gaming, TGA has completed its 100th course, trained 1,500 industry professionals, worked with 100 client organizations and completed courses in 25 countries across five continents, since it was launched by Clarion Gaming in July 2015, according to a press release.

ICE London provides arguably the best opportunity to showcase what the Totally Gaming Academy can offer and for it to build on those impressive statistics, according to Clarion Gaming’s Head of Education and Training Andrew Spencer. “ICE London is the best possible arena for us to introduce our courses to what is a global audience,” he said. “There are a number of players in the training sector and I firmly believe that businesses should take the opportunity to sample the quality of the offering before they make any commitment. On all three days, we will be running a series of workshops and expert panel sessions at the TGA ‘Genius Bar.’ Our industry experts will deliver short presentations, followed by a Q&A session at which attendees will have the opportunity to quiz the trainers and drill down to get a proper understanding of their knowledge of the subject matter and their approach to training.”

As well as highlighting current courses, Totally Gaming Academy will also be launching new titles as part of its ‘Gaming Fundamentals’ portfolio. Extracts from anti-money laundering and responsible gaming streams will also be delivered at the TGA theatre. Each day at ICE will be themed: day one will focus on land based gaming; day two will profile online topics, and day three will deal with the fundamentals of sports betting and lotteries.

“Exhibitions the size and status of ICE provide a great opportunity for attendees to really immerse themselves in all aspects of the industry, including training,” Spencer said. “I’m looking forward to showcasing the TGA portfolio and establishing how we can apply our expertise to meet the training needs of the international industry.”


Exhibitors from 62 nations commit to ICE

Exhibitors from a total of 62 sovereign states and gaming jurisdictions are putting their faith behind ICE London 2018 as the place to launch their latest product innovations and services to a world audience. The figure confirms ICE London as the most international B2B gaming technology event in the world and the only one to provide visitors with a 360 degree perspective on the industry, according to press materials.

The figures, released by Clarion Gaming two months ahead of ICE opening at ExCeL London, underline the global credentials of what has become a truly global event. “We’ve worked extremely hard in partnership with our stakeholders to create an event that every gaming vertical feels a part of,” said Kate Chambers, managing director of Clarion Gaming. “Events with a global exhibitor base, in turn, attract a global audience of buyers, a chemistry which explains why ICE London continues to grow.

The full list of jurisdictions represented by ICE exhibitors includes: Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, China, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia (The Former Yugoslav Republic of), Malaysia, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, UK and the U.S.


Clarion launches new ICE show hub

Clarion Gaming has made an important enhancement to the customer experience for both ICE visitors and exhibitors following a comprehensive review and subsequent creation of a new show hub. The new site has been developed to reflect the pivotal role ICE plays in the gaming industry calendar and provides exhibitors with the facility to showcase their brands more effectively and develop a dialogue with visitors a full six months ahead of ICE opening its doors to the international community of gaming professionals who travel to London each year.

"Our post-ICE research flagged some dissatisfaction with the ICE website, so I instructed the team to take a clean sheet of paper and start again,” said Kate Chambers, managing director of Clarion Gaming. “Alongside the latest enhancements in terms of ease of navigation, news and content related to each sector and a zone which enables visitors to favorite products and content, we have invested in the development of a Meeting Planner tool, which was at the top of the wish list for our exhibitors and will be available later in the year."

“It’s very important that we deliver on behalf of our customers and that we live up to our stated commitment of continuous improvement across every aspect of the ICE experience,” Chambers added.