The second day of ICE Totally Gaming was packed like yesterday, with thousands of people roaming the expo floor and attending sessions from 10am until 6pm solid. On the expo floor delegates were treated to everything from Playson’s “live” Dracula, his coffin and lovely assistants, Credorax’s foozeball competition against Paul Merson and awesome Football Freestyler Dan Magness, live music, models, models and more models and free drinks flowing at every corner.
This year ICE featured a number of start-up related activities in an effort to showcase innovation in the gambling industry. Pitch ICE is a new feature this year at ICE, organized by the crowd sourcing and crowd funding GamCrowd and in partnership with Clarion. At Pitch ICE, throughout the course of the day, start-up companies were given 15 minutes to pitch their products to ICE delegates. Chris North of GamCrowd confirmed each pitch would be filmed and distributed on the GamCrowd site after ICE for the industry to vote on and ultimately determine the winner. North told CalvinAyre.com he is pleased with the turnout this year and although some times are busier than others, he’s had constant traffic overall in the Pitch ICE corner.
Genfour was one of today’s Pitch contestants, a company providing “Robotic Process Automation” or RPA. Ian Dunning, Co-Founder of Genfour, confirmed his company’s participation in Pitch ICE was a great vehicle for educating the industry on RPA and Genfour in general. Dunning truly believes in his product and wants to communicate to operators how implementing RPA into their systems will reduce manual labor for valuable employees and open up more time for strategy and innovation.
Along the same theme of start-ups and innovation, Igor Samardziski of Nexus described the “Start-up Incubator” he is running this year at ICE with Clarion. Three one hour sessions were held at the Nexus booth today, all pre-registered by companies who are wishing to enter the online gambling market and would like guidance on how to do so. Common issues that come up surround regulation, total cost and a number of other questions surrounding entry into a new marketplace. Samardziski has years of experience in iGaming and is there to answer such questions and provide further support down the line.
The ICE Conferences are held alongside ICE Totally Gaming and feature a series of “mini-conferences” touching on hot topics in the gambling industry. The IMGL Masterclass was one of the conferences taking place today and featured a session on opportunities in emerging markets. The session covered the current and future opportunities in Spain, Latin America, India, North America and Australia.
Panelist Sue Schneider of iGaming Brokerage discussed North America and said in Canada there are now attempts in legislature to get single game sportsbetting regulated. Over in California, Schneider explained the tribes are split on the “bad actor” clause which basically means is PokerStars going to be able to participate or not- “lets cut to the chase”, she said. Of course this split causes a problem for the iGaming regulation we are all hoping for in California. “Until the industry comes together with a single message we are not going to get the politicians on board”, she said.
Schneider also pointed out there are a handful of states legalizing fantasy sports in America and the “placeholder” is social games and fantasy until more of the US states open up to regulated iGaming.
Panelist Gowree Gokhale of Nishith Deal Associates is a gambling lawyer specializing in India. Gokhale explained online gambling is currently prohibited in India except for within one of its smaller states, but the new government is completely changing the way things are going at the government level and are extremely industry focused. This is good news for iGaming, however there are obviously other issues more urgent, so its likely the new government won’t touch on iGaming for a few more years.
In the meantime, skill games and online poker are proving to be quite profitable in the region and could be a good opportunity for operators looking to enter India’s market. Gokhale also said there are a number of operators based outside of India offering their services into the country and although this is not legal, India’s government is not doing much of anything to stop it.