Clarion Postpones ICE

ICE London for 2022 has been postponed until late April. The upsurge of the Covid virus in the UK is reportedly the problem, but officials are confident that the show can be held at that time. Clarion’s Stuart Hunter (l.) says the show will bounce back in the spring.

Clarion Postpones ICE

A contentious meeting of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) seems to have been the impetus for the organizers of ICE London to reconsider the February dates for the show. A few days later, Clarion Gaming announced that it would delay ICE London, as well as the co-located iGB Affiliate London show, until late April.

Exhibitors and potential attendees were concerned about the recent surge in Covid cases in the UK and other European jurisdictions. While Clarion pledged that ICE London would exceed the required restrictions, it apparently wasn’t enough, particularly for European partners.

According to Stuart Hunter, managing director of events, for Clarion Gaming, “This comes as really disappointing news for everyone connected with ICE London and iGB Affiliate London. However, in what is a rapidly changing situation it became clear that we could not provide the certainty that our customers need in terms of logistical planning from the construction of stands, transportation of equipment as well as the booking of flights and accommodation.”

The AGEM meeting seems to have clarified the situation.

“The ICE brand has always acted in the best interests of its customers and having consulted with members of the industry we have come to the conclusion that postponing until April represents the best route forward,” said Hunter. “It is a great shame that we will not be able to celebrate our return in February but the brand and its international community of stakeholders will bounce back in spring.

Complicating the delay, however, is the finalizing of the deal with the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) with a strategic partnership to expand their respective brands and carry out the mission of serving and protecting tribal gaming.

NIGA hosts the annual Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention, the largest gathering of tribal leaders and casino executives in the country. This new long-term relationship will leverage Clarion Events’ experience expanding association-owned trade shows and conferences. Clarion Events will utilize its multi-platform production reach to introduce Indian gaming into its family of International Casino Exposition (ICE) brands.

As two of the largest players in the gaming events space, NIGA and Clarion Events have worked to move the gaming industry forward as a whole. Through their events and multimedia platforms, they have delivered industry-leading content, technologies and products. In 2019, tribal gaming was a $35 billion industry and generated an additional $6.2 billion in ancillary revenues from hotels, entertainment, restaurants and retail operations, while collectively ranking as the 11th largest employer in the U.S.

NIGA’s annual trade show, the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Conference, provides access to new strategies, technologies and relationships in the tribal gaming industry. In July 2021, the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention was the first large scale gaming event to run in-person following the Covid-19 pandemic. The event was a success, with participation in step with 2019 numbers, bringing together both tribal leaders and commercial gaming operators along with the industry’s suppliers.

“Tribal gaming is a dominant force in the gaming community,” said NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. “Before Covid, tribal gaming revenue had increased each year for the past decade—demonstrating the innovation and achievement of Indian Country.

“The work we do empowers our tribal communities and generates important revenue for economic development. We are already building back. As we look to establish a new normal, we are excited to join forces with Clarion Events. They honor the mission and vision of the National Indian Gaming Association, support its membership, and are experts in producing large-scale tradeshows and conventions. With their partnership we will grow the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention and expand tribal gaming’s global reach through ICE.”

Clarion Events currently operates a robust portfolio of live events and digital content including the flagship event ICE, the largest global gathering of gaming operators in Europe.

“We have had a great working relationship with the National Indian Gaming Association for the past seven years,” said Greg Topalian, CEO of Clarion Events North America. “We greatly respect the work that the association does for its members and the tribal gaming community. As part of Clarion Events’ ongoing strategy, we are actively looking to expand upon our current partnerships and work together with new associations to scale events and support their missions. Greater ties between the National Indian Gaming Association and our ICE brands will build on their standard of excellence and grow the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention to new heights.”

The next edition of the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention will take place April 19-22 in Anaheim, California.

So the dates for ICE London will play a crucial role in not only the relationship with NIGA, but also the ability of exhibitors at both shows to be flexible to meet the expectations of their clients.