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THE MOST INTENSE 3 DAYS IN FEBRUARY. LONDON, ICE 2017

At the beginning of February I had the pleasure to be one of the over 28.000 visitors of the largest international exhibition of casino industry, ICE Totally Gaming 2017.As in the previous 4 years this major event was hosted at ExCeL London and gathered a record-breaking number of exhibitors, over 500 companies from 66 different countries, that were grouped in 9 categories.The largest number of exhibitors belonged to the following 4 categories: Casino with 286 exhibitors, Online with 263, Mobile with 222 and Betting with 217 exhibitors. However also the other 5 categories were consistent, with minimum 100 exhibitors for each of them:  Sports Betting 180, Lottery 144, Bingo 124, Street 112 and Social 100 exhibitors.Very relevant for identifying the actual trends was also the distribution of these companies over channels; the Remote / Online distribution channel gathered 187 de exhibitors, Mobile channel followed closely with 180 and Land Based had 158 exhibitors.The generous surface of the exhibition was split in 2 large parts: The North side and the South side. The largest booths on the North area were organized by Merkur Gaming, IGT and Scientific Games followed by Playtech, Intralot, Apollo Games, Microgaming and Casino Technology.The largest surface on the South area was occupied by Novomatic Group of Companies followed by Euro Games Technology – better known in Romania as EGT, Recreativos Franco Group, Aristocrat, Amatic, Apex, Interblock and Alfastreet.Numerous events, conferences and seminars were organized In the spectacular ambiance of the exhibition. An innovation brought by this year’s edition was ICE VOX training events, that replaced ICE Conferences and that were hosted on site, at ExCeL, but also outside the exhibition, at Hippodrome Casino, right in the hearth of London.I visited this casino one evening and I was very impressed by the clever and creative way the owners managed to take advantage of the location and the building’s architecture in order to offer a memorable casino experience.From the numerous seminaries organized during ICE 2017 I took part in some of those offered by Totally Gaming Academy so I had the chance to meet again two of the most well-known casino marketing experts in Europe, Lucien Wijsman and Arjan Korstjens and share some memories from our participation in Slot Summit 2016, that took place in Berlin.This year’s edition of ICE was so large and interesting that at the end of the 3 days I spent in London I still had the feeling that I didn’t managed to discover all the novelties, to test all the interesting games or to see everything that was worth seeing. However, it is clear now that „the online revolution” and „omni-channel integration” are established trends that will continue even stronger in the next future.It remains to be seen if my prediction is correct by visiting ICE 2018, that will take place next year on February 6 – 8!

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