When you get bashed out of the way by one of his minders you know that the person about to step past you may well be fairly important – put that down as the most important person to ever drive the bobsled at the Winter Olympics.
Of course we’re talking about the son of Grace Kelly, Prince Albert II of Monaco, who attended the Monaco iGaming Exchanges to have a look around the event that is in its first year, and the signs are already that it will become one of the stops on the iGaming global circuit that no-one wants to miss out on.
The exchanges joined the well established Sportel exhibition on the seafront Grimaldi Forum, and in addition to allowing a cross over between the two events, gave everyone who attended a valuable introduction to the emerging French market, which started out less than six months ago.
Yesterday already provided us with one round table moderated by the Michael Caselli, touching upon all areas of the international betting markets, including the USA, France, and Italy, with the later debate chaired by Wendeen Eolis, and attended by the dignitaries Professor I. Nelson Rose and Chuck Humphrey, in which they discussed amongst other things the US market, and marijuana. This was all summed up in our first day article, which can be seen here.
After the first days festivities had finished there was the Monaco iGaming awards in the evening at the lovely Monte Carlo Bay Hotel, where PMU and Bwin both took three awards, PartyGaming reportedly as happy as Larry with the good work that Bwin are doing. So after a couple of cocktails, the cameraman mistaking Vikash Dhorasoo for an award-winner, and some shots which looked as though they’d be very tasty but turned out to be a potato-solution we turned in for the night.
The second day of the exhibition was when the excitement started, that’s if you call the arrival of a royalty that can drive a bobsled a thrill – which I do. His entrance, in a motorcade packed with police, minders, and anyone else who felt like they should be protecting the crown prince, signaled the start of the busiest of the conference’s days.
Following the exciting start to the day everyone moved on to the round table on acquisitions, which, although almost entirely in French, was a very informative discussion indeed. After a spot of lunch, and some much needed recharging of the batteries, Mr Caselli moderated his second round table discussion, this time the subject being online sports and horse betting markets, of which the important markets in France and Italy were discussed, high points being the constant joking around by the purple-socked panelist, and the wealth of knowledge that each man brought to the table. Following the round table we caught up with Magnas Gaming head Nicolas Beraud who spoke of his delight at the fact the exchanges were taking place.
The final debate looked at the online poker market and its development across the continent, chaired by Emmanuel Benichou, with the topics being discussed how poker has penetrated through the various European markets, and with Dragonfish’s David Zerah sitting in the firing line, the credibility of everything being discussed was of real value.
In the evening we again, after finally being admitted to a drinks party, were in the presence of royalty, the prince drinking in his inner, inner circle, where you wouldn’t be so surprised to see Naomi Campbell or Kate Moss amongst the visitors, and after a few glasses of wine the evening wound down to close the first ever Monaco iGaming Exchanges. The hospitality was excellent, the guests informative, and with a date already decided for next year’s festivities, you’d be churlish to deny yourself the opportunity to rub shoulders with royalty and a large amount of the world’s wealth.
Checkout the Picture Gallery from Monaco iGaming Exchanges day 2 here.