Talking on ICE

Peter Hannibal, CEO of the cross industry body, the Gambling Business Group, looks ahead to next week’s ICE London and represents the number one meeting place for all GBG members as well as the world’s regulators (or most of them at least!)

ICE London is now the most international gaming expo in the world with 60% of visitors travelling from outside the UK and 153 nations represented. Is this something that we should be proud of?

In my opinion, the significance of the UK market on the international stage should never be under estimated. The three days of ICE demonstrates that the UK is very adept at maintaining its position at the forefront of product development as well as a very real commitment to responsible gambling and regulation. I think that we should be proud of our reputation on the world stage. It is clear that one of the reasons why so many international visitors come to ICE is to see exactly what’s happening in the UK, and to understand our direction of travel.

The critically acclaimed Consumer Electronics Show describes itself as ‘the world’s gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies and as being the launchpad for next-generation innovations.Do you think ICE London is gaming’s equivalent of the CES?

2019 will I am sure be no different to previous years. ICE is the undisputed ‘go to’ gambling expo for everyone in the global industry. Changes in the US regarding sports betting may impact the profile of the American shows over the next few years, but guess which jurisdiction is already at the leading edge of sports betting?

How will GBG be using ICE 2019 – what’s your approach to the exhibition and how do you maximise the benefits of attending?

This year’s theme for us is collaboration. It’s well known that The Gambling Business Group relentlessly strives to pull the industry together in those areas where there is common ground and aligned objectives. With the B2 decision having been made and this divisive scenario effectively behind us, we have an opportunity to accelerate and accentuate those areas where the industry can pull together and crucially, start to address some of the issues regarding the public’s perception of gambling entertainment and their trust in gambling operators. The gambling narrative is a toxic one and we need to do something about it – and fast!

What message(s) do you think ICE sends to regulators? Is it a positive shop window for the gaming industry?

How ironic that you pose this question days before the Gambling Commission confirmed their non-attendance at the world’s biggest gambling event? However, gambling regulators migrate to ICE from all corners of the globe every year so yes, ICE is an important platform for the international gambling industry to present itself to, and liaise directly with regulators. We should also recognise that overseas jurisdictions looking to change their regulations (and potentially open up new markets) will send representatives to ICE as part of their research and to familiarise themselves with the sector, so you never know how important casual conversations during ICE might turn out to be.

GBG includes many of the industry’s biggest names among its members, what do you think they will be looking for from this year’s edition of ICE?

ICE is the ultimate bringing together of all of our members into one venue across three days at a time when the landscape continues to change. All of our manufacturers, developers, systems and solutions providers, operators, retailers along with all of the support services will be at ICE at some point, interacting and conversing with one another in a manner that they don’t necessarily have time to do during the rest of the year. They will have time to discuss and contemplate consumer changes, the future for products, where the industry needs to go – all over a coffee. So for us ICE represents three quality days for our members and for the future of the industry.