Latin America is a market of great potential for the gambling industry and local stakeholders are eager to learn about regulatory and operational best practices. Clarion recognized a need for an event catering specifically to senior level gambling professionals focused on the Latin American and Caribbean markets and after months of research, Juegos Miami was born.
Now in its second year, Juegos Miami will return to The Biltmore from May 31st until June 2nd with a larger presence and a learning program crafted to address the latest issues in the market. I spoke with Kate Chambers, Managing Director of Clarion Gaming, to get a few more details on how the event has grown and developed since its first installment one year ago.
Becky Liggero: Thank you for joining me today, Kate. As an invite-only event, Juegos Miami has a different format and feel than most other Clarion conferences. Can you highlight some of these main differences and why they are well-suited for Juegos Miami?
Kate Chambers: Whenever I’m asked to explain Juegos Miami, I inevitably use the description offered by Charles Hiten, Chief Executive, Merkur Gaming Americas, who said it was ‘not a trade show, not a conference, not a networking opportunity, with a strong social aspect, but all of those things wrapped into one package.’
Juegos Miami is like this because it has been created and developed to meet the specific needs and requirements of the LatAm and Caribbean gaming industry. As organizers, we spent over a year talking to the industry, meeting with stakeholders and listening to their views and requirements. The result is a bespoke brand event with its own unique characteristics and personality. As a global events organizer, we are acutely aware of the cultural differences that must be observed if you are to have any chance of being successful. I am extremely grateful to the personalities and organizations who helped us to create an event which reflects the nuances and characteristics of the market.
BL: Juegos Miami is now in its second year, what changes have you made from last year and why?
KC: The first edition of Juegos Miami will be remembered as an historic event in the development of the LatAm and Caribbean gaming industry. Clarion Gaming is committed to the process of continuous improvement and the team, including our colleagues at Urban Expositions, have been working with our stakeholders to make the modifications necessary to take Juegos Miami to the next level.
Dealing with specifics, we have modified the layout in order to improve visitor flow and altered some of the Conference timings to maximize the opportunities delegates have to meet with suppliers and to network amongst their peers. Whilst these changes appear quite modest, it is the smaller details which impact on the dynamics of C-Level gatherings such as Juegos Miami.
BL: What kind of growth are you seeing in the LatAm market from a conference organizing perspective? Why do you think this is happening?
KC: The support we are receiving from all sectors of the market has been very strong and extremely encouraging. We now have 40 commercial organizations with a stand, showroom or a sponsorship presence. The commitment has well surpassed the level achieved in 2016 and reflects the growing stature of what is rapidly becoming the stand out C-Level business event for the region. The mood music surrounding Juegos Miami is very positive and all of the key signs that we look for as event organizers suggest that we are on course to build on the success achieved in our launch year.
Juegos Miami is not just a commercial forum and the 2017 edition will also feature many of the region’s most influential trade associations and representative bodies, including: CIBELAE (Corporación Iberoamericana de Loterías y Apuestas del Estado); FECOLJUEGOS (Colombian federation of casinos and bingos); CONAJZAR (Commission nacional de juegos de azar); ABLE (Brazilian State lotteries Association); Magocom/BNL, and FECEAZAR (Federación Colombiana de Empresarios de Juegos de Azar).
Our objective in launching Juegos Miami was to meet the demands of the market for a C-Level event which brought together gaming’s leading innovators, thinkers and political influencers in a unique and dedicated environment. 2016 represented a very good launch and I think the market has responded to this and recognized the importance of having a professional focal point to help drive the development of a vibrant and sustainable industry in what is one of gaming’s most exciting regions.
BL: Can you share with us a few of your key sessions and speakers?
KC: Juegos Miami will again have a visionary learning agenda at its core. The learning program features keynote speakers and includes sessions covering lottery, bingo, casino, sports betting and regulation, as well as crime and security, for both online and land-based verticals. The main topics for 2017 include a case study analysis of some of Latin America’s biggest markets, an assessment of the advances in legislation that the market is likely to see in the coming years, the importance of combatting the negative narrative which punctuates the gaming debate, the use of gaming tax revenues for social welfare, the fight against illegal gambling and organized crime, sports betting and integrity, player protection and AML best practices, attracting millennials and arguing the case for uniform regulation in the region.
When we spoke with gaming stakeholders in the region, the desire for a robust and relevant learning program consistently featured in the top two requirements of each and every person that we canvassed. It’s clear that emerging and developing markets are hungry for knowledge, the opportunity to learn and gain insight from the experience of operators, regulators and thought leaders in more mature markets. The learning program is accessible via www.juegosmiami.com, but I think one of the industry’s overarching topics is responsible gaming, which is particularly important in LatAm where the public perception of gaming is based on a stereotypical narrative.
BL: New this year you have training opportunities available at Juegos Miami, can you summarize what’s on tap for your delegates?
KC: Delegates will be able to benefit from the expertise and experience of two of the gaming industry’s most accomplished trainers who will be with us in Miami. The Totally Gaming Academy (TGA), will be holding its one-day, fast-track masterclasses covering the fundamentals of casino performance improvement and the key areas of operating a profitable sports book operation.
The Slot Academy module will be led by TGA founder Lucien Wijsman, a proven casino slot marketer with over 25 years of experience in operating casinos, developing TQM systems and advising the R&D departments of casino suppliers.
The Sportsbook Management Academy is being taken by Course Director Lee Richardson, founder and CEO of Gaming Economics, an international e-gaming consultancy and advisory business.
The cost of attending is $199 and is restricted to Juegos Miami attendees. A well trained work force is the product of a professional and socially responsible industry and I believe this is an extremely important part of the Juegos Miami experience.
BL: Sounds like an outstanding event, Kate- do you have a closing message you would like to send to our readers?
KC: Juegos Miami features a powerful, strategic and hands-on learning programme presented alongside a line-up of inspirational exhibitors and sponsors. Attendance is limited to senior decision makers from operating companies as well as government and regulators from the Latin American and Caribbean region. To apply for a place at the C-Level event, which in 2016 attracted exhibitors and representatives from a total of 42 countries, register at www.juegosmiami.com.
BL: Thank you so much for your time today, Kate and best of luck with this year’s installment of Juegos Miami.