Hunter: ICE London Will Happen in April

Stuart Hunter (l.), the managing director of ICE London producer Clarion Gaming, says the conference and exhibition is on track for April 2022, despite several exhibitor cancellations.

Hunter: ICE London Will Happen in April

Stuart Hunter, managing director of Clarion Gaming, says Clarion’s signature event, ICE London, remains on track for April 12-14 at London’s ExCeL Centre, despite several major exhibitors having dropped out.

There had been speculation about the event after Novomatic, normally the show’s largest exhibitor, dropped out, joining other major participants including Scientific Games, Merkur, Zitro and TCSJohnHuxley. According to Hunter, the trade show will still feature exhibits from more than 450 brands, with strong protocols in place to guard against Covid-19.

Spintec is the latest company to withdraw. In a news release last week, the company said, “The exhibition is one of the most important gaming

industry events in the world and Spintec was always extremely committed to participating, exhibiting and promoting the event with their partners. This year, however, complicated circumstances prevent Spintec to participate to the best of their ability and potential.”

It cited upheaval caused by the pandemic, as well as “more complicated Brexit-related import procedures, operational challenges due to the Easter holidays and the proximity of the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention.” The statement concluded that Spintec “will focus their efforts on exhibiting in 2023, when the circumstances are bound to be more favorable both to the company and to their partners.

But the show must go on, and Hunter said the event’s size still makes it the largest global gaming exhibition in the market. “As a team we never like to lose any of our exhibitors but we will always respect their reasons for deciding not to participate,” he said. “Ours are lifetime customers and we are working with them to assist some in retaining a presence at ICE through sponsorship and by hosting clients at the event, while also confirming their return in 2023.

“We always strive to stand shoulder to shoulder with the industry and our customers, both in good times and during more challenging periods.”

Hunter cited independent research of 1,300 attendees shows 74 percent of those polled still plan to attend the show. The new dates have also secured support from the European Casino Association, ensuring a large contingent of European land-based operators will be attending.

This research was undertaken prior to the U.K. government announcing that vaccinated international travelers will not be required to take a Covid test upon arrival in England as of February 11.

“This is a major development that will encourage more visitors to make the journey to London and be part of the ICE experience,” Hunter said. “In addition, the U.K. government has moved to its Plan A Covid response which involves a significant easing of Covid restrictions, including the end of mandatory face masks and a relaxation of the rules applying to Covid certification passports. In these respects, the U.K. and ICE London are very much open for business.”

Protocols had been fully tested through Clarion Events, and are flexible enough to respond and adapt to a dynamic and rapidly changing scenario.

“We knew that the return to in-person events would not be straightforward but we also know from our experience staging iGB Live! in Amsterdam last autumn quite how much the industry has missed in-person events and the ability to meet, network and to do business,” Hunter said.

“The team is fully focused on the task ahead and will do whatever it takes to deliver an unforgettable celebration of the industry when it meets in London.”

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