ICE now reigns supreme as the best show for the gambling industry due to its scale, the breadth of its coverage and the quality of its content. Our stand was constantly buzzing throughout the three days and the quality of attendees was high as we met with several prominent iGaming operators. Net floor space grew 5% to a record 45,500 square metres for 2019 and the content is constantly improving. Here are our three key takeaways from ICE 2019 at ExCeL in London:
1. The development of sports betting
Once upon a time ICE was firmly rooted in its casino and gaming heartland and sports betting operators were few and far between. However, it has now evolved into a one-stop shop for visitors with an interest in sports betting, bringing in a healthy mix of online and land-based sportsbook providers and various associated professionals. The move from Earls Court to ExCeL has allowed it to grow year-on-year since 2012, and it is now more than double the size it was seven years ago. But that has been accompanied by healthy growth in visitor numbers, while allowing exhibitors to spread out and launch more ambitious stands. Sports betting has really come to the fore in that time and it was great to see the growth in stands from leading lights such as SB Tech, Kambi and BetConstruct.
2. The state of the union
The nascent American sports betting market was the hot topic on everyone’s lips at ICE this month. It may be a London-based show, but visitors came from more than 150 different nations to attend, network and share best practice as they sought to fuel further growth in the global gaming industry. Asian and European operators were all talking about how they can crack the lucrative market opening up in the US, but also in South America. The broad consensus was that a partnership approach is the way to thrive across the pond, teaming up with local operators in order to meet complex regulatory requirements and win over new bettors. The level of energy, passion and entrepreneurialism on display was impressive and it appears that several shrewd operators will go forth and lead the Americas into a brave new era of sports wagering.
3. Online growth
It was great to see the iGaming industry so well represented throughout the week. We met a wide range of affiliates and iGaming operators and they were clearly attracted by the non-stop networking opportunities that ICE offers. Previously they would confine themselves to the London Affiliate Conference, but it was really refreshing to see them attending both shows for the full week this year. It points to ICE’s status as a must-attend event for everyone connected with the gambling industry, covering a vast spectrum of talented individuals and companies that gather in London to learn, debate, network and do business. This is the preeminent event in the global gambling industry calendar and we cannot wait to see it kick on once more next year.