2019 ICE London: The Naughty and The Nice By Luke Haward, CDC Gaming Reports January 23, 2019 at 3:00 am Last year’s exhibition was record-breakingly large, and this year is surely tipped to exceed that, with an incredible amount in store for attendees. Media coverage will of course be extensive, and I’ll be there doing the rounds on behalf of CDC Gaming Reports and its Tottenham Report. There’s an enormous amount going on, so let’s dip into a few areas and get a preview of what you can expect at ICE London this year. The ICEVOX seminar series has been totally revamped for 2019, and now features an array of different arenas for partaking. The series is running from the 4th – 6th of February, whereas the exhibition itself runs from the 5th – 7th. ICEVOX now offers four formats. The Hive offers a series of roundtables for policymakers and regulators alongside operators. It will cover several geographic-focused events initially, focused on Japan, and thereafter the Americas, followed by an Asia roundtable, one on Africa, and finally a slot for Europe. After that the roundtables are centred on FOBTs, advertising trends, sports sponsorship, concerns over fraud and hacking, and a final conference on esports. The Counsel is more focused on debate, and covers controversial topics such as self-regulation, state-run lotteries, how deserving operators are of the fines which have been levied against them, a lack of creative initiative in the industry, advertising bans, customer loyalty, and invasive industry tactics. The Boardroom offers a forum for “sharing experiences” and covers sustainable sports betting markets, responsible gambling, US sports betting, personalisation, and Big Data. Finally, the Elevator offers focused twenty minute learning sessions, covering areas as diverse as AI, loot boxes, GDPR audits, blockchain for use in cybersecurity, cloud data, and cyber attacks. One presentation which looks very interesting is the Research Exchange, which aims to bring academia and researchers closer together with the gambling industry, to drive innovation and data-driven decision-making. This makes a comeback in 2019, along with another key feature of the exhibition, the Consumer Protection Zone, which will play host to a series of organizations and charities involved in researching or enabling responsible gambling within the industry. Pitch ICE, for startups, is a great feature of the conference, offering them the chance to pitch their projects to an array of high level executives in the industry. According to the official website this has seen an unprecedented level of interest this year. Plenty of opportunities exist at the conference for networking, including the main exhibition floor, home to countless stalls representing all possible aspects of both the live and online and mobile gambling industry. One nice feature offered by organizers is the official ICE London networking app, which you can download to your mobile phone. The app assists in contacting, networking with, and scheduling meetings with colleagues, as well as granting ready access to the full range of exhibitors filling out the ExCeL centre. What am I most looking forward to personally? Aside from the endless free drinks (!) I’d have to say it would be the tech. There were some really engaging displays last year of VR and augmented technology emerging in the gambling scene; those are some of the experiences which stick out best in my mind one year later. The title of this piece mentions naughty and nice, and so far we’ve only covered the latter. Well, as many will remember, last year the conference was accused by none other than Sarah Harrison, the former Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, of featuring women in a range of inappropriate clothing and roles, which it must be said has been something of a “thing” in the casino world for years. There was fairly damning criticism levied at the time, so it will be very interesting to see what, if anything, has changed in this regard. I’ll be sure to let everyone know once I return from the event, and, who knows, perhaps I’ll see you there.