By Cecilia Garcia, journalist, G&M News.
Clarion Gaming, organizer of next ICE London and iGB Affiliate London fairs, has been doing a tremendous job for years. As an example, there is the last 2020 edition of ICE London, weeks before the spread of the pandemic. Numbers say it all: 35.000+ professionals from all sector of gaming, 633 exhibiting brands (73 new exhibitors), 49.500 sqm of net space over 40 halls, 65 nations represented, over 200 speakers, an amazing Consumer Protection Zone (30% bigger compared to the one in 2019), 8.000 sqm of the Esports arena, and a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament, with a prize pool of USD 250,000.
Of course, then came COVID-19, the cancellation of the 2021 edition, and the date being moved from February 2022 to, finally, April 11-14th. On those dates, the traditional show will take place, as well as iGB Affiliate London, iGB Affiliate Awards, the World Regulatory Briefing and the International Casino Conference. The organizer’s effort to coordinate the work with all industry stakeholders must be recognized once again.
The 2022 edition promises to be just as fabulous (or even more so) than the previous ones. Thousands of leaders, decision-makers, technology experts and policy regulators will safely meet again and have the chance to learn from the ICE VOX conferences to keep abreast of industry trends, regulation and legislation, as well as networking, socializing, source and compare new products. An excellent new Clarion Gaming initiative to bring the industry together will be the ICE Hosted Meeting programme, designed to help gaming industry decision-makers discover the latest trends and products in the most efficient way, facilitating quality connections between the world’s leading gaming suppliers and important buyers. Likewise, iGB Affiliate London will be 28% bigger than the one of 2020, with 159 exhibitors and sponsors (47% first time exhibitors), drawn from 29 nations and occupying net floor space of 6,265 sqm. In this sense, according to Naomi Barton, portfolio director responsible for the Clarion Gaming owned iGB Affiliate brand: “There is a confidence within the iGaming affiliate sector and the optimism, energy and desire to come together and network represents an extension of what we experienced with the iGB brand last September in Amsterdam when independent post-show satisfaction research placed iGB Live!/iGB Affiliate Amsterdam among the top ten percent of events benchmarked with visitors and in the elite top three percent for exhibitors.”
In the absence of some traditional companies, there will be 450 exhibitors willing to attract attendees and display their solutions. Visitors continue to express strong support for the event. A research project from Explori, which canvassed the opinions of 1,211 ICE registrants, has revealed that just under three out of four (74%) plan to attend the show. Of this number, 77% were either final decision makers or had a say in purchasing decisions for their business. The vast majority (81%) viewed the show as important to attend, with 67% saying they did so to acquire new suppliers or partners. The British Government itself has lent a hand by confirming that vaccinated international travelers will not have to test for COVID-19 on arrival in England. Besides, Clarion will commit to the event sector’s All Secure Risk Assessment Framework, a best practice guide for delivering events when pandemic transmission remains a risk.
About organizer’s efforts, Stuart Hunter, managing director of Clarion Gaming, stated: “Securing new dates has been a mammoth task and has involved migrating six other events to enable ICE to have the entirety of ExCeL which is the space required to operate at full capacity.”
Relevant executives of the gaming industry such as Simon Thomas, owner and CEO, The Hippodrome Casino in London, have declared their support for the April dates. “I’ve missed the opportunity to meet industry figures and colleagues in person when the real conversations happen. London has led the charge against COVID-19 and restrictions have been lowered. It’s vital we now focus on returning to rebuilding the industry, and ICE London is a great chance to do that. I look forward to seeing everyone there,” he emphasized.
At the same time, The European Casino Association has also endorsed the postponement. ECA chairman, Per Jaldung, said Clarion’s decision was made in order to ensure that ICE’s expo remains everything people expect from it. “ICE London 2022 is an opportunity to reunite the gaming industry after two years apart. We respect the flexibility and responsible decision making shown by Clarion in moving forward the show to avoid yet another wave of COVID-19 uncertainty. We are glad to be welcoming back the international community to London, and trust in Clarion Events, as the custodians of ICE, to deliver another successful edition in spring 2022,” he assured.
Based on the confidence expressed by these leaders, and the support of thousands of visitors, as well as media such as G&M News, Hunter is hopeful for what will undoubtedly be an unforgettable edition of the largest global gaming exhibition in the market. “The ICE brand has always worked to represent the entire gaming ecosystem. We strive to stand shoulder to shoulder with the industry and our customers, both in good times and during more challenging periods. We continue to be committed to the whole of the industry, including the many smaller businesses throughout the supply chain which rely on ICE London for a significant proportion of their annual turnover. We will celebrate the return of the industry in a safe and secure environment. Be sure that we will continue to engage with our customers in the run-up to and after the completion of ICE London 2022,” he concluded.