ICE Is Bigger Than Ever
With over 30,000 attendees in 2018, ICE Totally Gaming established its place as one of the most valuable business-to-business gaming events, which provides visitors the perfect insight into the international industry. Game providers, mobile gambling, sports betting, bingo, lottery, payment exhibitors, fraud prevention, seminars with keynote speakers, various firms related to online casinos and gambling – you name it, ICE has got it! Additional 2,000 sqm of space will be added to last year’s 41,500 sqm, which in total leads to the record size of ICE Totally Gaming event of 43,500 sqm.
That said, it is worth mentioning that ICE 2018 is almost twice the size of ICE 2012, held in 22,500 sqm. The three-day manifestation hosted hundreds of big and trustworthy names from the online gambling industry showing off their newest innovations and accomplishments. ICE Totally Gaming 2018 was divided into three days, whereby the first two are to run from 10am to 6pm, while the closing day began at 10am and ended at 4pm.
Leading casino equipment innovators such as Scientific Games Corporation, Novomatic, Aristocrat Technologies and others presented their state-of-the-art products, and famous software developers including NetEnt, Microgaming, Play’n GO, Pragmatic Play and Yggdrasil Gaming will shared more information about the latest gaming wonders and online slots designed for the pleasure of players and the better user experience.
In general, ICE presented an ideal opportunity for gaming companies to launch and test new ventures. Play’n GO, an award-winning gaming supplier, was well aware of that and thus they had to showcase their omni-channel capabilities with a new platform called OMNY. The concept introduces the attempt to enable players to transfer game progress across any land-based or digital device via a standard user profile.
Kate Chambers, Managing Director for Clarion Gaming, said that ICE Totally Gaming 2018 represents a ‘flagship event that showcases the world’s leading innovators from every gaming vertical.’ Chambers further added that the show is likely to host customers from over 150 countries and territories. “Our strategy, wherever we operate in the world, is to work with the industry to create events and opportunities that help meet its business objectives,” read a statement from Chambers. “The expansion of ICE Totally Gaming has been driven by demand and reflects the dynamics of the international market that views London as the once-in-the-year opportunity to engage with a really significant and influential community of buyers and influencers.”
ICE Africa launches in London
Over 300 gaming industry professionals attended the launch of ICE Africa which was held on the opening day of the world’s largest gaming technology event, ICE London.
Commenting on the launch of ICE Africa, Kate Chamber, Managing Director of Clarion Gaming, said: “Whilst 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 B2B gaming event. We launched in Africa following requests from the industry for us to develop and organize a professional showcase that the continent could be proud of and tonight’s launch highlights the industry’s enthusiasm for our newest event.”
Response from attendees at the launch was equally positive. Tristan Kaatze, Director of Casinos Sun International, said: “ICE Africa represents a key vehicle to pull Africa together. Historically bigger operators tend to focus on events in Las Vegas and London but Clarion’s commitment to the country highlights that, overtime, the African market warrants the same scale but with new growth opportunities too. The development potential in Africa is massive and this launch shows how much networking potential operators and international companies see in the market.” Discussing the reputation of Clarion’s London event, Kaatze continued: “We come to ICE London because the entire industry is under one roof and we’re not only able to see what’s available in the industry right now, but what’s available in the future too.”
Echoing these factors, John Kamara, Director of Global Gaming Africa, explained: “First of all, according to the African Union, Africa is full of brilliance and we want to say to operators to come with us as we walk with you into this emerging market. Having the ICE brand in Africa allows us to showcase the new opportunities in the market from rising GPS to direct international investment and rising disposable income, the potential for operators is huge. “The continent represents almost 52 nations with 1.6billion people, 68%of whom are under the age of 27, this is such an exciting market and provides so many different opportunities across the various countries. Africa is already renowned as an emerging market and according to recent data, the World Growth Bank is showing more growth ahead so what better time to launch this event.”
Highlighting his decision to travel to ICE London, Kamara added: “ICE is where everything melts. It’s like a giant iceberg where everybody melts together into one pool of business and opportunity. We come here to sell the dream of Africa and ICE is the place to do this.”
Gambling firms defy calls to stamp out sexist behaviour at event
The ICE Totally Gaming conference, held at London’s Excel centre, drew a warning from the UK gambling regulator. The Gambling Commission’s chief executive, Sarah Harrison, threatened to boycott the event, at which she said women were “expected to wear nothing more than swimsuits”. Less than 24 hours later, the gaming software company Microgaming kicked off the conference with a Playboy-themed dance show, celebrating the release of a gambling game based on the glamour magazine.
Another gambling company, Endorphina, hosted a popular stand at which pole dancers entertained a mostly male audience, some of whom filmed the show on their phones and had pictures taken with the women. The dancers, who wore high heels, fishnet stockings and lingerie, performed in front of a screen featuring words such as “provocative” and “sensual”. One woman at another stand, who said she had been hired as a hostess on a daily rate of 100 pounds said “somebody asked me yesterday how much I would charge”, indicating that the request referred to sex. Asked what her job was at the gaming conference, she replied: “Just stand there.”
Two other women, wearing thongs and body paint, said they had been provided by a hostess agency to work alongside 250-300 women from at least six agencies. They said they had experienced unwanted physical contact from men at the conference. “There are guys who try and touch you when you’re getting your picture taken with them,” said one. “You’ve just got to deal with it and say, ‘Get off me.’” A pair of hostesses handing out leaflets said the men working with them at the event “treat us like princesses”. But they added that women signed up to different agencies were expected to go to greater lengths. At another stand, two Czech models said they “sometimes” experienced sexually inappropriate behaviour, but they declined to talk about it or say which agency they worked for, because they had signed non-disclosure agreements. Several gambling industry sources who had attended the event in the past said it had been toned down.
Most of the people seated at the tables behind the exhibition stands, where conference visitors met to discuss business and drum up trade, were men in suits. But the stands were mostly fronted by scantily-clad hostesses in themed costumes, some of whom told the media they had been hired for the day from professional model and hostess agencies.
On Monday, Harrison warned that the Gambling Commission would boycott the ICE Totally Gaming conference if it did not stamp out sexism. She told companies attending the conference to be aware of the potential for a “significant stain on the industry’s reputation”. “This is an industry where we have a number of talented, powerful and successful women,” Harrison said in a speech on the eve of the event. “Yet from walking around the exhibition you wouldn’t know this. “Instead you saw men representing their companies wearing expensive tailored suits whilst their female colleagues were expected to wear nothing more than swimsuits. I say, bring this to an end now. “And to go further, any future participation by the Gambling Commission in events like this will depend on there being change.” The European Casino Association and Clarion Gaming, which organises the ICE conference, wrote an open letter to exhibitors earlier this week, urging them to be aware of potential allegations of sexism “in the spirit of the 21st century”.
Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, accused the gambling industry of being ignorant and called on bosses to show some “moral leadership” and stop the objectification of women. “The gambling industry claims to be responsible but this sexist and chauvinistic behavior has the evident approval of the men at the top.” Labour MP Carolyn Harris also called for an end to the hostess culture: “I’m very disappointed that we have not learned the lesson of the President Club debacle. It is never acceptable for any woman to be exploited in this way and I had hoped that we had left all this seedy voyeurism in the dark past where it belongs. We really must move on from this unacceptable behaviour and stop treating women as objects”
Clarion, the event’s organiser, said in a statement: “ICE London has been working with the European Casino Association to encourage respectful representation of women on exhibition stands. This programme started in 2016 and will continue.” The company added: “ICE London has featured educational initiatives on diversity and inclusion organized in partnership with Global Gaming Women, an organization that delivers programmes that support, inspire and influence the development of women in the gaming and lottery industries.”
Evidence of sexism at the largest gambling industry conference in the world emerged amid fierce debate about the use of women to provide hospitality at events.
GGA London 2018 Winners Revealed
Finally after months of nominating, voting and adjudicating, the Global Gaming Awards London 2018 winners have been announced. Hosted at the iconic Hippodrome Casino, more than a hundred of the industry’s leading Chief Executives attended the invite-only event to find out who had been crowned this year’s winners in the heart of London. As one of the industry’s biggest gatherings of Chief Executives, a wide range of industry leaders gathered together to celebrate their company’s successes in the past 12 months, attended by CEOs from NOVOMATIC, Videoslots, Betsoft, Ganapati, Colossus Bets, LeoVegas, Malta Gaming Authority, Go Wild Affiliates, Mr Green, Gamevy, NetEnt, Fortuna Entertainment Group, SG Gaming, Pentasia and Kambi, including many more.
The Global Gaming Awards London was created to augment the Las Vegas Awards by shining a light on several new and exciting sectors of the dynamic gaming industry. To reflect this, a new roster of categories were created, including the likes of Corporate Services Provider, Affiliate Program and Online Sports Betting Operator to name but a few. Companies from across the world were nominated in each of the unique new categories, spanning every corner of the industry, including industry heavyweights and the rising stars. To even be nominated in the Final Shortlist is a great testament, and those companies included should be proud to have made it to that stage.
The awards would not have been possible without KPMG, who adjudicated the entire voting and judging process. We would also like to thank our Awards Sponsor, BetConstruct and its CEO, Vigen Badalyan, who helped to present the awards alongside Micky Swindale and Julian Perry. Furthermore, we would like to thank the Event Sponsor, Betradar and its Director of Communications, Alex Inglot who also helped to present Betting Shop Operator and Chief Executive of the Year. Some of the winners are Fortuna Entertainment Group who won the betting shop operator of the year award and Britisg sports betting company, Bet365 who also won the sports betting operator of the year. Others are Playtech BGT Sports, Kambi, Leo Vegas etc.
Sirplay sets sights on ambitious platform launch
Maltese software house, Sirplay has revealed that it will launch a new high speed live betting platform with both new graphics with three different sportive user interfaces. The module, which it describes as “the fastest on the market”, will support more than 40,000 transactions and up to 2 million connections per second. The release will follow on from Sirplay’s previous launch of its bitcoin sports betting software, a platform designed specifically for accompanying all the potential variables of a bitcoin platform, managing all the activities – in the virtual currency, in order to avoid all the trading risks that may be bounded to the bitcoin payment system alternative, meaning the platform will appeal to a player who specifically desires a bitcoin specialist platform.
Furthermore, Sirplay revealed it would utilize ICE to exhibit its most renowned releases of the previous year and the newest ones that will accompany it in the current year. Choosing this year’s event to exhibit its Bitcoin platform, as well as its new high speed live betting platform.
The Maltese software supplier will be hoping that this release bolsters its continued ambition for global expansion, building on its high-profile deals that it secured last year in Africa and Latin America. The group has also expressed a desire for expansion into the DFS market, with the group’s African representative Joseph Oyekunle describing it as a potential “game changer” in the region.