The team behind other large-scale gaming events such as Juegos Miami and the original ICE conference which takes place in London, have come together to produce another corker of a conference. ICE Africa marked the very first gaming event of its size to be held on the continent, which took place a few weeks ago at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, bringing together professionals from 52 countries, 16 of which were African.
Following the positive feedback that came out of the inaugural Gaming Africa event held in 2017, the well-respected ICE brand realised the potential Africa has to become the next big gambling hub and hence took the decision to take their brand out of its London home for the very first time. The event served to represent both well-established as well as up-and-coming brands from the industry under the same roof while also providing the ideal platform for locals looking to break into the market.
Kate Chambers, managing director of Clarion Gaming, was confident that the event would bring about a positive influence in Africa’s gaming scene, while acknowledging that it would not be on the same level as ICE London : “Whilst the scale of ICE Africa will not be the same as ICE London, we will be bringing the same level of commitment, thinking, creativity and professionalism that has made ICE London the world’s favourite and most international gaming expo.”
What Went Down at the Conference and Expo Floor
Africa boasts a large number of traditional brick-and-mortar casinos as well as online gambling operators, both of which have given rise to a multi-billion dollar industry that contributes greatly to the continent’s economy. Experts have predicted that the gaming industry will continue to boom over the next decade, noting that online gambling in South Africa especially is at an all time high, thanks in no small part to the new regulations which came into effect to provide players with stronger protection when it comes to this more modern betting variant.
ICE Africa made history as the only pan-African event to promote business to business gaming, with free attendance to both the conference and expo. Delegates were able to get more information on different aspects of the gaming industry, with talks and workshops extending to anti-money laundering, social responsibility, investment opportunities, public relations as well as payment options such as cryptocurrencies. The regulator round tables gave operators the chance to put questions to regulators regarding licensing requirements as well as the way forward for collaboration between African jurisdictions. There were also several training masterclasses by Totally Gaming Academy.
Each day ended with a networking drinks reception, giving delegates more opportunity to make new contacts while developing existing business relationships in an informal setting.
The event was sponsored by several instantly recognisable industry brands, including the likes of Neousurf, BetConstruct and SuperBet, amongst others while also being supported by reputable organisations such as the South African Bookmakers’ Association, the Industry Group for Responsible Gaming and the European Casino Association
Attendance to both the conference and the exhibition was strong with more than 12,000 delegates from all corners of the world albeit with 61% of them representing representing African businesses. Exhibitors and speakers included heavyweight gaming influencers from continent together with operators, suppliers, software developers, regulators and payment providers.
Before its launch, Chambers envisioned how “ICE Africa will be an event where the industry can meet, network, see the very latest gaming innovations, share best practice and progress in a strategic and sustainable manner. The ICE Africa team is already in place and working with our stakeholders in order to deliver on our pledge to create a world class business event for the continent” and she couldn’t have been more right. There’s no doubt that the event will serve to pave the way for other similar conferences as Africa continues to fulfill its potential as a gambling hub.