Clarion Managing Director Kate Chambers sat down with Racing Post this week to discuss what’s in store to ICE London visitors next week.
It’s nearly that time again, ICE London 2020. What have you got in store for visitors this year?
In terms of size, ICE 2020 will be the biggest show on record, comprising 633 exhibiting brands occupying 49,500sqm of net floor space.
What’s great from a delegate’s perspective is that, not only do you have access to every gaming vertical, but the show floor also includes every interpretation of gaming from every corner of the world.
Some events are national and others are regional – ICE London, on the other hand, is unequivocally international; no other show can offer such a degree of choice and insight.
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 US $250,000 prize-money tournament.
It’s the largest feature we’ve ever had at ICE London. 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. The arena will allow delegates to go behind the scenes with our production team, as well as providing player interviews throughout the competition, showcase broadcast editing insights and deliver 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 we have ever undertaken. 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.
There has been huge support from the industry for the Consumer Protection Zone – how important is the promotion of responsible gambling to ICE London?
It’s massively 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 business one with a strong, robust commitment to social responsibility being the precursor to progressive regulation.
It’s clear that the industry wants to operate within a well-regulated sector or environment. When stakeholders walk through the doors I want them to see and experience a creative industry that has social responsibility at its core.
ICE VOX is bringing together some of the biggest names in the industry to discuss the future of gaming. Can you give us any insight into some of the key topics that will be discussed?
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 needs of the industry.
The first floor of the Platinum Suite will be set aside as a 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 more than 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 (February 3-4), with Hospitality Technology on the second day, the World Regulatory Briefing (February 3-4), Modernising Lotteries (February 3), Cybercrime and Security (February 4) and the Advertising and Marketing Conference (4 February). Comprehensive information on all of the ICE VOX streams can be found by clicking here.
With the gaming industry receiving some negative press in the UK over the past year, what can ICE London do to showcase the more positive side of the sector?
We are professional event organisers, not gaming experts and, as such, I’ve always been clear that ICE London can never speak on the industry’s behalf – it’s not what we do. However, we can provide a prism through which the industry is viewed and judged.
We try to make ICE a positive shop window for the business. We attract hundreds of gaming regulators from around the world and I think what they see is an industry that’s professional, that has made social responsibility part of its culture and that is doing its best to move forward in a responsible and progressive way.
The Consumer Protection Zone, which has attracted £65,000 in sponsorship which will be donated to a gambling charity, is a case in point.
We’ve seen the ICE brand expand across the globe last year in the US and Africa. Are there any plans to bring it any other corners of the world?
On the basis that no organiser has lost business by doing what their customers requested, we will be led by the market. That’s what’s happened in the US, what’s happened in Africa and what is happening with the launch of ICE Asia, which will open in Manilla in June.
If there’s market demand, support of the industry and a desire to be successful it is a winning combination. What I can say is that the ICE brand is well known, well respected and that it travels well.
With more than 35,000 visitors expected, how big do you think ICE London can grow?
We go into ICE London 2020 on the back of strong and, most importantly, some consistent growth. In fact, ICE is experiencing the most successful period in its history.
Since we moved from Earls Court to our home at ExCeL attendance has increased from 21,336 in 2012, (the last one at Earls Court) to 36,093 in 2019.
We have grown because our community has great faith and confidence in the ICE London brand to deliver, and everything that we do will be in partnership with our customers.
Finally, what is the most exciting part of ICE London for you this year and what are you most excited for visitors to see?
I can’t wait to experience the Esports Arena which represents a massive undertaking for ICE London.
I’ll also be keen to see the changes we’ve made to ICE VOX, once again in partnership with the industry. Many of our exhibitors are celebrating landmark anniversaries at show, so there’s lots to look forward to.
However, as abstract as it might seem, I’m looking forward to taking some time out from what is a packed diary, closing my eyes and listening to the noise that 35,000-plus people from 150-odd countries make when they are walking the aisles of the world’s biggest gaming technology event. It has become the sound track to ICE London. Try it!
ICE London (February 4-6, ExCeL London) and ICE VOX (February 3-4) 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 600-plus international exhibitors who will be at ExCeL for three days of business development and learning, register for free tickets by clicking here