Its back to the grindstone after an annual week of conferencing and networking debauchery in London, five days of ICE Totally Gaming and LAC, what we at CalvinAyre.com refer to as “London Conference Week”. Even though the CalvinAyre.com crew was certainly at the eye of the storm, its impossible to catch everything happening across the massive expo floors, so here are five points I personally took away from the madness.
CoinPoint Bitcoin Cash Party a huge success
In the words of our Founder, Calvin Ayre, “The convergence of online gaming and Bitcoin is actually in London, it’s the global leader in both those spaces right now”. This statement was fully supported by the turnout for CoinPoint’s exclusive Bitcoin Cash Party, smack in the middle of London Conference Week.
The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of Bitcoin Cash and how the currency and the technology behind it will benefit and disrupt the iGaming space as we know it…and to have a little fun as well. Hosts Oron Barber and Eilon Arad of CoinPoint entertained executives from the iGaming industry and welcomed celebrity appearances by nChain’s Chief Scientist Dr. Craig Wright and snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan, a casual, networking environment that was truly enjoyed by all.
The fact that so many senior people in our space made the time to attend the event during the busiest week of the year is a testament to just how much interest there is in the growth of Bitcoin Cash. Next up in dedicated Bitcoin Cash events is The CoinGeek Conference on May 18th in Hong Kong, one that is surly not to be missed.
Industry division over use of “scantily clad” ladies at expo booths
As a female professional who has been attending gambling conferences, award ceremonies and parties since 2005, I can confirm I have never once been offended by the use of beautiful, “scantily-clad” women as promotional vehicles.
In fact, I’ve been to industry dinners where promo girls are invited as guests and they say they love working at our events and have made a number of friends and professional contacts along the way. Not to mention, plenty of these amazing women I have talked to are making money on the side by modeling so they can pay for school and move forward with their careers.
Beautiful, scantily-clad women are everywhere- on TV, in shop windows, on the cover of female-facing magazines, as cheerleaders for American professional sports teams…I could go on forever.
With this in mind, I don’t understand why the gambling industry has been singled out by The Guardian for inappropriate use of “scantily clad” women at our events, but this article clearly brought an issue to the surface that does bother some of the female professionals in our space. For this reason, it seems appropriate to create forums or gatherings to discuss the issue and how to deal with it, something more organized than the ‘ole heated Facebook posts.
Thursday overlap of ICE & LAC received well by all
While the Thursday overlap of ICE Totally Gaming’s Day Three and LAC’s Day 1 was a killer for the CalvinAyre.com film crew, I think the move by Clarion was a smart one. As pointed out by affiliate Simon Roson of Siden Media, ICE is the giant of the two events but with an expo floor focus on the B2B, supplier side of the industry and LAC is where you find the operators who actually use the technology and bring it to market.
Overlapping by one day certainly brought more traffic to LAC and now that I think about it, suppliers such as Tom Light of SBTech make a point to attend the affiliate shows so they can talk with affiliates (and operators) to find out what’s working well in the B2C market. I don’t know the figures, but I’m guessing there were more suppliers like Light in attendance at LAC this year because of the overlap and hopefully the figures will improve even more in the future.
Opps for smaller affiliates: smaller operators and emerging markets
In a world of massive consolidation, including the affiliate side of the industry, prices are on the rise and competition is stronger than ever. Those affiliates who fall into the “smaller” category are fighting for survival as they cannot compete with the massive volume the larger affiliates and affiliate networks are able to generate. However, there is a silver lining for the little guys because the smaller operators cannot afford to pay the commissions requested by the larger affiliates, as pointed out by Andre Nazemi of AhaPartners.com on LAC Day 1.
Another opportunity for smaller affiliates lies in emerging markets such as South America because the big affiliate networks are not there (yet). Tiago Almeida’s talk on opportunities in South America for affiliates (and operators) also included the point that South America does not have the communication regulations in place as the UK now does, for example, making affiliate’s lives much easier when it comes to compliance and their methods of promotion.
ICE innovation still lacking, a few standouts from the iGaming side
A common joke after perusing the expo floor of ICE is that everything looks the same as it did ten years ago…and its true, for the most part.
My opinion is most of the new and exciting products are happening in the online space, but perhaps I’m biased or perhaps its because regulations are stricter for those who operate in land-based, especially within the US.
Whatever the reason, in my conversations with top execs at ICE, we discussed how yes, the floor looks the same, but also how incredible the virtual sports graphics have become, to the point where its hard to distinguish if the match is virtual or real. Live casino is also another area of exciting tech innovation, for example the announcement of NetEnt and Mr. Green’s 3D “Live Beyond Live” casino experience, a disruptor for the live casino space.