Our week at ICE London 2020
12 February 2020
ICE London is one of the largest online gambling exhibitions in the world that takes place in London every February. With thousands of attendees and exhibitors from the iGaming industry worldwide, it’s a fantastic event for catching up with current and prospective clients, meeting industry experts and finding out about the latest product launches.
This year, ICE was no different - lots of flashing lights, slots and casino games, entertainment and back-to-back meetings. Here are some of our observations around ICE 2020.
Esports set to grow
We’ve noticed a much larger presence of esports at the conference, including operators and suppliers, as well as a dedicated esports area for a live tournament. Esports is a rapidly growing market, predicted to surpass $1.5B by 2023, and many operators are looking to get involved in it a lot more.
Betway is one of the first UK operators to sponsor an esports team and with the massively engaged audience, we can see why others may want to follow suit. Despite this, it’s important to understand that the sports and esports audiences are very different, and content needs to be tailored accordingly. GG Recon is one to watch as they deliver content around esports, such as championship and team news, game announcements and more.
Responsible Gambling is still a top priority
Despite the recent articles in the press, responsible gambling is still a top priority for the online gambling industry. The ICE organisers held multiple talks around this topic that covered regulation in different markets globally, compliance for operators, various responsible gambling tools and what else the industry could do to improve this.
The UK gambling industry is one of the most regulated sectors and it strives to increase its responsible gambling services for its customers further. This includes stricter tools for anti-money laundering, self-exclusion, time and spend limits, ID checks, age verification, plus more to help their customers enjoy playing games and betting in a responsible way.
We attended the Ampersand Assembly led by ICE organisers that brought representatives of different iGaming businesses together to discuss topics around compliance, regulation and industry perception. A common theme of the discussions was innovation being stifled by regulation, however, our team feel strongly that this is not the case. Innovation is possible in regulated industries, but to deliver successfully requires dedicated investment.
More interest in UX and frontend development
We spoke to a number of attendees about their focus on the user experience and general design of their products. With more operators maturing, they want to modernise their products and offer their customers a better experience. Despite this, some are limited to what their platforms offer and are looking for ways of improving their frontend.
Building mobile apps is also something we spoke about with many visitors. Whether they wanted to update an existing app or create a new one to expand their services, mobile apps are still important.
In light of the recent changes in the Apple Design Guidelines, we were presenting our latest UX review to help operators get their apps ready for the deadline in March. Some of the visitors shared their concerns around this and appreciated our UX reviews as there are very few companies in gaming focusing on UX. We are yet to find out what Apple will say once online gambling apps start being updated or uploaded in March, and we’ll definitely be publishing our findings soon.
Great opportunities for the North American gambling market
Since the legalisation of sports betting across the US, we’ve seen many European operators partner with local US casinos to launch sportsbooks in a number of states to capitalise on the growing market. The likes of Betfred, William Hill, Stars Group and Paddy Power have a great advantage of setting up quickly and helping land-based casinos reach new audiences.
We spoke to quite a few North American attendees about the various opportunities for operators, the need for a good user experience and engaging digital products, as well as creating robust and scalable solutions for the future. We’re quite excited about this development and look forward to seeing how the North American gambling market will grow.
We had a great time at ICE, meeting lots of our global clients and making new contacts. It was an intense week, but totally worth it! And we loved seeing how many of the attendees wanted to take home our freebies - we’ll need to pack a lot more next year!
Here’s a picture we managed to take of David Hasselhoff as a reflection of how bright and random ICE really is.
If you visited our stand and would like to discuss our services further, get in touch with us below!