Ice London, a step into the future
February has always been the month of Ice, the London gaming fair that enhances the industry and drives progress.
Only one thing is sure in the gaming world: news never fails. Not from the point of view of products and services, which evolve and follow one another at a frantic pace, hand in hand with technological progress, but not even in terms of regulation, with national legislators who, in addition to pursuing the development of the industry, must deal with the different emerging perceptions and with the pressures of politics and public opinion that increasingly impose even drastic choices towards the sector.
Italian operators are well aware of this, cut down by various restrictions and prohibitions (such as that of advertising imposed by the Dignity decree, which has become famous worldwide because it is excessive) and subjected to the media pillory and political guillotine now every day. But about that, unfortunately, it’s the same the world over, with several nations that are adopting restrictions (but not absolute prohibitions, like us) to nurture a not well defined electoral consensus.
An intersection of situations that raises questions that are not easy to solve for professionals (and not even for regulators), with increasingly large investments to be made to remain on the market and an increasingly uncontrolled competitiveness, while spaces and possibilities for do business decrease.
But it is just in this confusion that it becomes fundamental to stop and reflect, looking around and also looking ahead, to what the future offers, but also deepening the more topical issues that affect industry and markets. That’s what trade fairs are (still today), and none like the London Ice, as regards the gaming sector, offers such a complete, in-depth and therefore global scenario, able to guide and influence the choices of all stakeholders involved in the industry. Legislators included.
Like every edition, there is no lack of food for thought and extremely topical issues this year too, proposing the challenges of each segment and each country.
As explained by Ewa Bakun, director of the “Insight and Engagement” division of Clarion Gaming, the company organizing the event, in this interview given to Gioco News, in which she explores the news and contents of the fair. With a particular look at Italy, to which the fair also dedicates a special study with the panel organized by Gioco News within the World regulatory briefing hosted in the Ice Vox conference section.
What are the main topics that are addressed in this edition of Ice?
“As always, there is a whole diversity of topics across International Casino Conference, Hospitality Summit, World Regulatory Briefing, Modernising Lotteries, Cybercrime, Marketing and Advertising at ICE VOX, free to attend country briefings, seminars on tribal gaming, Diversity & Inclusion, Consumer Protection and startups at Pitch ICE theatre. The key topics are around consumer protection, growing regulatory pressures, review of the Gambling Act in the UK, opening of new markets, such as Ukraine or Germany, hospitality and integrated resorts, industry reputation and public perception and, of course, innovation”.
What news does the event have compared to previous years?
“Lots of new developments at ICE 2020, with the whole focus on eSports with the investment into the eSports arena; in addition to extension of land-based casino education to a broader investigation of how hospitality tech can enhance consumers’ experiences, exciting keynotes by Tom Watson, Usain Bolt and Danny Rogers. But there are also new start-ups pitching on the Pitch ICE theatre and growing fundraising efforts through the Consumer Protection Zone”.
Esports, therefore, are at the center of Ice 2020: what do you expect from this phenomenon?
“We have been looking at eSports for a number of years, but ICE 2020 marks a proper, full-fledged investment, testimony to our confidence of how eSports can transform the industry. There will be a large eSports arena with tournaments so that our visitors can have the spectators’ experience themselves, plus eSports conference running alongside to learn more about this phenomenon”.
What role will Italy play in this edition of Ice in terms of exhibiting companies and visitors?
“Italy, as one of the largest gambling markets in the world, will be present amongst our exhibitors, but also through the sessions offered at ICEO VOX, with a whole roundtable dedicated to the discussion of the impact of the advertising ban and the changes to the licensing procedure”.
As is well known, Italy was the first country to introduce a total ban on advertising for games. What influence is this event having on the international regulatory scene?
“Clearly, over aggressive advertising of gambling and betting is the industry wide topic now and Italy’s total ban can offer interesting lessons to those jurisdictions, like Spain, that are considering such drastic measures”.
Gioco News Panel at Ice Vox 2020
Tuesday 4th February 2020
12:30 – 13:10 European Roundtables
Within the framework of the Wrb – World Regulatory Briefing, hosted by the Ice Vox conference cycle of the Ice London 2020 fair, Gioco News offers a focus on the Italian market focused on recent regulatory changes, in parallel with updates relating to: United Kingdom, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Ukraine and others that will take place in parallel tables.
How is the market changing with the new government laws? Between restrictions and new opportunities, new tenders for land and online games are outlined.
What impact does the ban on advertising have on the Italian and global market?
Quirino Mancini, Partner of Tonucci and partners
Marco Castaldo, Ceo of Microgame
Ludovico Calvi, President Global lottery monitoring system
Christian Tirabassi, Senior Partner Ficom Leisure