BY Becky Liggero ON April 22, 2010
Lets start with my time in Stockholm. The first few nights were amazing- a pick up at the airport and espressos with Franco of Redbet, dinner at Gondolen with my good friend Henrik of PAF, a night out at Hotellet with Kristian of Bwin, the only person in this world that has a job almost as cool as mine, and a nice home cooked dinner with Jonas, the Bodog Network VP. The next thing I know, I’ve eaten something that has killed my stomach (no, it was NOT a hang over!!), but seeing as I love Stockholm, the Swedes and suits so very much, I was able to enjoy myself at the iGaming Forum conference and after party despite the fact that I had not eaten for days. Thank god for Michael Caselli who was moderating the conference sessions and spearheading the after party adventures– I do believe his energy is contagious and more than made up for the loss of mine.
Next up was CAC Amsterdam, an event I have adored and attended for five years in a row. Despite the fact that the number of attendees seem to be decreasing each year, I mysteriously have more and more fun each time I go. Much to everyone’s dismay, there were zero sponsored parties this time around, however the industry’s expense accounts, the Euro Pub, Players Bar, and the red light seemed to suit our group just fine. Each night was a complete blast and I was able to have real conversations with old industry friends such as Expekt’s John Ryott, RedBet’s Franco and Streak Gaming’s Christine in addition to making new industry friends such as the spooning Villento Affiliates boys, the new and nice looking Referback affiliate managers, and Simmo!, one of the most considerate people (and affiliates!) I have ever met in my life.
Now comes the “eruption disruption”. The CAC Attendees had planned to head home on Saturday the 17th or Sunday the 18th, but due to the volcanic ash, at this time all air space was closed, the train station was a mess, and rental cars were far and few between. The majority of our crowd resides in Europe or the UK, so after 24 hours of phone calls and travel agent assistance, they were able to sort extravagant train, ferry and automobile combos. However, at the moment I do not reside on this side of the pond, so I was “stuck” in Amsterdam with the South Africans, Israelis, and Americans, none of which could find a way home without a flight. My solution? Simple. I do not feel stranded at all- I quite liked the QT with industry professionals, three extra days of boozin’, smokin’ and sex shop viewing in the Dam, an overnight bus to London with Simmo! as my guardian, and a nice squat in London, my future home, until Virgin Atlantic is able to re-book my flight home.
While my story is rather painless and fun, check out the stories of some igaming friends who were a bit more anxious to get home than I was:
-The Intertops boys took a taxi from Amsterdam to Austria for the bargain price of 2,500 Euros.
-Henrik G of PAF took a train from Amsterdam to Stockholm for a total of 20 hours, but with his incredible sweet-talking, he managed a first class ticket, to make some new friends, and to drink beer the whole way home.
-John, Franco and Martin took a train to Frankfurt, stayed in a hotel overnight, and took another train to all the way to Stockholm the next day.
-Tom Galanis of Game On Affiliates took a taxi to Hook of Holland, got on the ferry for six hours, took another taxi for two hours, took a train to Gatwick, picked up his car, and finally drove home for a total journey of 16 hours.
-The Villento boys took a train from Amsterdam to Rome, a flight from Rome to Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv to Ethiopia, and Ethiopia to South Africa. Well, at least that was the plan…I heard they got stuck in Rome because of a bomb scare and then stuck in Ethiopia for god knows why. Or maybe that’s just Andre pulling my leg.
–iGaming SUPER Show‘s Alex Pratt and David took a train in the AM from Amsterdam to Antwerp, Antwerp to Lille, Lille to Dunkirk and Wael of AffiliateWide picked them up in Dunkirk and drove Alex home to London, David home to Bristol and himself home to Manchester by 4am.
–Casino City’s Debbee and Streak Gaming’s Christine rented a car, drove to Brussels without a GPS signal, and hope fly back to the US from Brussels this weekend.
So there you have it my friends. Mother Nature may ultimately rule the world, but the igaming industry can always find a way to enjoy…so long as there is some alcohol involved. As I sit here in London, I have had a fantastic 2.5 weeks and I have nothing to say except for one big “thank you” to the Icelandic volcano with a name I cannot pronounce. The only thing that could have possibly been better is if I was stuck in Stockholm without any way to get home…ever. Now THAT would be heaven on earth!