And so it begins, the first of five days of what we at CalvinAyre.com like to call “London Conference Week”, a combination of Clarion’s ICE VOX, ICE London and LAC, all taking place over the course of five consecutive days at the ExCeL venue. This week represents the largest gathering of the year for iGaming professionals, with delegates flying in from all around the world to spend time together conferencing in the day and networking in the night.
Today we began our London Conference Week coverage at the ICE VOX sessions, a series that has been completely re-formatted to create a more productive and innovative environment for delegates to learn.
“We have actually been trying to innovate and experiment with the ICE Conference’s formats for quite a few years”, Ewa Bakun of Clarion Gaming exclusively shared with CalvinAyre.com
“Its not about just making a change its actually about us adapting to what we’re hearing from the market, from the people, from our attendees, who really have been requesting a different type of experience, something that really acknowledges that people learn in different ways”, she said.
“Its not about sitting back in a conference room and just taking information, that its about interaction, its about conversations and that its about debating”, Bakun added.
This year’s version of ICE VOX features several formats that are more traditional such as the “Boardroom” for panel discussions and the “Elevator” stage for presentations, but with the “Hive”, Bakun described it as more of a bar-style learning where there are experts hosting conversations and breaking that barrier between speakers and the attendees. With the “Council”, speaker topics are centered around provocative motions to debate and the audience is also invited to join the conversation.
“Its not perfect, but its part of the exercise that we have embarked on quite some time ago to really propose something completely different”, Bakun shared.
This morning’s “WrB Germany Focus” Boardroom session zeroed in on the iGaming regulation status in Germany, a complex and time sensitive issue within the 16 member states, especially with unregulated iGaming on the rise. Speaker Prof. Dr. Patrick Sensburg, Member of the German Parliament, emphasized the importance of the German market, pointing out it will be the largest in the EU once the UK has officially stepped out.
“Its quite interesting to look closer on Germany. In Germany we have got 16 states, we call the Länder, they have to bring up a new state treaty, we have no actual state treaty so we have a grey, not regulated market and that’s a task to regulate the market”, Dr. Sensburg told CalvinAyre.com. “Its quite difficult of course, we have no situation that all Länders have the same side on the issue, I think there’s a little group of the states or the Länders that will move forward, there is a pressure because we have to find a solution before the summer this year and we really have to find a solution by 2021, so the pressure is getting larger”, he added.
Meanwhile, Stateside we’ve finally got some movement with the regulation of online gambling, although issues with payment processing, especially across state lines, are still on the horizon. Rosen Metev of Paysafe spoke alongside Sarafina Wolde Gabriel on today’s “Opportunities for European operators in the regulated US sports betting market” Elevator session and provided an overview on the payments landscape in America.
Metev believes payments will be a key differentiator in the regulated US market and said payments will be the way operators will gain market share and acquire new customers. There is a lot the US market can learn from Europe, such as offering multiple payment methods, a practice Metev is confident US-facing operators will take on board.
“With opportunity also comes challenges…we all know about the Wire Act, so I believe based on the Wire Act and based on the fact that some of the card issuing banks don’t support online gambling transactions in the US yet, this will lead to a lot of declined card transactions”, Metev explained.
“To tackle this issue, I think operators will need to offer alternative payment methods to their customers to ensure that they acquire the customers, have successful deposits and actually monetize on the potential of the market”, he added.
This afternoon’s Elevator blockchain presentation featured Vasily Polynov of TrueFlip.io, an iGaming developer that utilizes cryptocurrencies for payment and the blockchain for game fairness and ticket distribution.
“For two years we’ve been doing a lot around blockchain and I would say that of course its obvious that you should have cyrpto payments if you’re gambling, the other thing is that whether you use the blockchain technology inside your business solution or not”, Polynov said.
“We understood that using Blockchain for ‘proveable fairness’ is absolutely a cool thing, but not every audience needs it and it would be a totally cool thing for emerging markets”, he added.