Cancellations Add to ICE London Woes, iGB Affiliate Show Growing

More major international exhibitors announced they will not participate in ICE London due to Covid-19 concerns, the latest being the show’s largest exhibitor, Novomatic Group. Meanwhile the concurrent iGB Affiliate show is already larger than in 2020.

Cancellations Add to ICE London Woes, iGB Affiliate Show Growing

Uncertainty surrounding the 2022 ICE London trade show and conference, planned for April 12-14 at London’s ExCeL Centre, is growing after the show’s largest exhibitor, Austrian slot supply and operations giant Novomatic AG Group, announced it is pulling out of the show due to the continuing Covid-19 crisis.

Novomatic joined an increasing number of show cancellations, the most recent being Merkur Gaming, the subsidiary of Germany’s Gauselmann Group, London-based table game giant TCSJohnHuxley, Zitro, the international slot and bingo supplier, and Scientific Games, which was the first to pull out.

“After numerous cancellations by major international show exhibitors and due to the ongoing challenging situation created by Covid in the U.K. and across Europe, the Novomatic AG Group as the largest show exhibitor has taken the decision to withdraw from the planned participation at ICE 2022,” said Novomatic in a press release.

“The Novomatic executive board has not taken this decision lightly. Following the recent weeks’ uncertainties and after detailed analysis and risk assessment, the decision has been taken to withdraw from ICE 2022 for various reasons. A multitude of adverse aspects—including the pandemic, logistical challenges and, last but not least, the unfavorable and unavoidable alternative date—have culminated in a situation in which participating in the show is no longer viable.”

Many suppliers had the problem with the April dates, postponed from the usual February dates due to the pandemic, because they fall so close to another major spring trade event, the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention, taking place April 19-22. Exhibitors have said two major trade events only a week apart presents monumental logistical problems.

“The situation remains difficult to assess, due to the pandemic creating conditions that continue to prevent safe travel as well as a safe stay and participation at this gaming show—circumstances that have ultimately led to several cancellations by leading show exhibitors and participants,” Novomatic said in its statement.

“Novomatic considers the health of its employees as well as customers and partners a top priority and has therefore decided to take this unfortunate but measured and considered step. ICE is a key trade show for the entire gaming industry and Novomatic hopes that the successful cooperation can be continued under more favorable conditions in 2023.”

“The company has been exhibiting at ICE since its inception over 30 years ago,” said a statement from TCSJohnHuxley, “and sees the event as a major focal point in the gaming calendar. However, after consulting with key stakeholders it became apparent that due to the timing of the show, along with the ongoing Covid situation in Europe and around the globe, attendee volumes will be significantly reduced.

“While the industry is already having to deal with unprecedented operational and logistical challenges caused by the pandemic, the directors of TCSJohnHuxley decided the proposed dates would add further difficulties. Exhibitors and customers would have to navigate traveling during the Easter period, in addition to suffering the pressures caused by Covid travel protocols.”

Tristan Sjöberg, TCSJohnHuxley executive chairman, said, “We all want the show to go ahead, but it has to be at the right time and in the right conditions. The decision to pull out of ICE has been made reluctantly, but the health and well-being of our staff and customers has to be our main priority.”

“It has not been an easy decision to make,” said Zitro in its announcement that it will not participate in ICE London, “and we had been looking forward to our participation, but there are many reasons that have caused us to withdraw from the event, being the main ones, the worldwide concern over the omicron variant, the inconvenience of the new show dates clashing with Easter break, and the expected low attendance particularly of customers from other continents.

“Zitro strongly believes in ICE London as the key international trade show for the European market, and is enthusiastic about participating in the next edition of ICE ’23, as we have always done over the last years. We are looking forward to reunite in the right circumstances and to showcase our amazing products to casino operators from all over the world.”

Observers note that ICE traditionally sells to more iGaming companies that strict land-based gaming companies so that even though many slot manufacturers have withdrawn, no iGaming companies have backed out.

Meanwhile, ICE producer Clarion Gaming announced last week that its iGB Affiliate London show, the iGaming version of ICE London slated to run concurrently at the ExCeL Centre April 13-14, has already grown beyond its 2020 size.

Clarion said its latest show metrics show a significant growth compared to the last edition of the show, currently standing at 159 exhibitors and sponsors (150 in 2020), drawn from 29 nations and occupying net floor space of 6,265 square meters (67,436 square feet)—a 28 percent increase on the physical size of the 2020 edition, and now spanning three halls at ExCeL.

“The industry is putting its faith in the iGB brand with both the number of sponsors and the level of investment increasing, the latter already up 5 percent on the final figure achieved in 2020,” Clarion said in a press release.

Naomi Barton, portfolio director responsible for the iGB Affiliate brand said she is confident the show will be an international celebration of the iGaming affiliate sector.

“I am delighted to confirm these figures which have been achieved a full 11 weeks ahead of launch, with the team continuing to market the opportunities and benefits of being a part of the industry’s premier event,” Barton said. “There is a confidence within the iGaming affiliate sector and the optimism, energy and desire to come together and network represents an extension of what we experienced with the iGB brand last September in Amsterdam when independent post-show satisfaction research placed iGB Live!/iGB Affiliate Amsterdam among the top 10 percent of events benchmarked with visitors and in the elite top 3 percent for exhibitors.”