The first edition of casino industry conference and exhibition ICE Asia will supplement an existing events network under the “ICE” branding, and will help to bring together industry participants from a number of jurisdictions. So said Greg Saint (pictured), ICE Asia event director, in an interview with GGRAsia.
The “ICE” branding is used by Clarion Gaming for a popular London, United Kingdom event each year. The promoter also organises gaming-industry-related gatherings in North America and Africa.
The first edition of ICE Asia has been postponed from this summer until 2021, and the trade show this year will now be held in digital-only form, due to travel restrictions related with efforts to stem the further spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. ICE Asia Digital 2020 is due to run from June 8 to June 10, and is to be held concurrently with SiGMA Digital Focus Asia, an event for the online industry.
“Our number one priority with any event is around the safety of all the participants that are going to attend it,” said Mr Saint. “We want it to be the best it can possibly be, having high standards which provide the desired returns for any of the potential suppliers and attendees that come along.”
The executive explained that by moving the trade show into a digital format, the ICE brand could “still engage with participants” who “now, more than ever, need to because of the current set of circumstances they face that are undoubtedly at present affecting their businesses”.
The free-admission digital event is focusing on gaming in Asia. “It involves regulators, gaming operators, thought leaders and experts focusing on the future of gaming and market recovery post-Covid-19,” according to the organiser. The opening day will start with a keynote discussion by Andrea Domingo, the head of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), that country’s gaming regulator.
Fewer, better events
The plan for the digital event “has been very well received,” said Mr Saint. “I think more than ever people need to stay connected and we have all had to adapt over the past couple of months, both professionally and personally,” he told GGRAsia. “Our main considerations were no different to any other event. The primary objective is to bring the right set of visitors in front of the right set of participants – sponsors, exhibitors, regulators, and speakers.”
The promoter is looking to make use of its experience, particularly the organisation of its London event, to transfer industry knowledge to other markets. “We can offer a lot of value to jurisdictions that aim to learn from best practice from the other gaming communities and regions that are represented,” said Mr Saint, adding that by hosting a number of events, the ICE brand can “continue to engage different markets”.
The executive explained the event in Asia also aligns with Clarion Gaming’s strategy of organising “fewer but more all-encompassing events,” by “using a successful brand and migrating it into other geographies”.
“It’s down to the market to decide and it’s also down to us to put on in every instance, not just Asia, an event that can be objectively scrutinised afterwards by all the participants,” he added.
Mr Saint acknowledged there was “quite a high risk” involved in launching a new trade show, but said that Clarion Gaming was committed to a long-term goal and was confident ICE Asia would be successful. “This event forms part of one global brand, and Asia forms a part that can fit alongside and help cross-fertilise our other events,” he noted.
The executive said additionally that the partnership with SiGMA for the event in Asia was part of Clarion Gaming’s strategy of organising more comprehensive events.
“You have different segments of the gaming market represented by two co-located events, making one larger event as opposed to … two separate events for the same region running at different times in different locations,” said Mr Saint.
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