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LONDON CALLING - ICE Preview

ICE / ICEi 2008 kicks off in January

The annual International Casino Exhibition at Earls Court, January 22-24, is shaping up to be a record-breaking event. Again.

The ICE show, which began its life in the early 1990s as a more or less annual family gathering for U.K. gaming industry veterans, has increased in size and importance to become Europe’s leading casino show. Last year, ICE visitor registrations approached the 10,000 mark, while close to 2,400 registered for ICE’s relatively new component-now in its fourth year-the online gaming exhibition, ICEi. Registered visitors to either show can flow freely between the two, which have separate dedicated stand sections but are under one roof.

This year, as every year, the number of visitors is expected to increase. Since 1995, ICE has had visitors from 178 countries. Clarion Events Marketing Manager Charlotte Skinner said, “There are presently 192 member states of the United Nations, so for the London Show to have been represented by so many is a remarkable achievement.”

Organizers are hoping to break the 180 mark this time around.  But it is the exhibitors that all come to see. By mid November, ICE 2008 was approaching 200 exhibiting companies, with ICEi adding another 60-plus to break the 160 mark. Every supplier category imaginable within the two industry segments is well-represented.

Once again, Austrian gaming machine maker Novomatic has taken the largest exhibition space at 1,116 square meters. Next biggest is IGT at 701 square meters-but after all, it is Europe’s show, and Novomatic needs a lot of space just for its traditional complimentary sausage bar.

In the ICEi section, Boss Media takes the prize at 120 square meters, with Microgaming and Playtech tied for second at 108 square meters.

To facilitate the registration and information process for exhibitors, the organizers of the show created an extensive online manual. The resource includes a detailed show schedule and venue information, local area info and a hotel listing, A-Z directory and “Guide To Exhibiting,” health and safety documentation, marketing and media information, and downloadable order forms for exhibitors logistical needs.

The Parties – ICE has a long tradition of great partying after the day’s work is done, and this year will be no exception. Aside from the numerous exhibitor-sponsored affairs-for which everyone will be hustling to obtain the all-too-limited invitations-there are three events open to all who don’t mind paying their own way.

The action kicks off the evening of the first day with “Breaking the ICE” at the Bluebird club in Chelsea. The venue is a “destination bar” and features classic and seasonal cocktails, selected spirits, champagnes and wines by the glass, and a relaxed lounge environment. Tickets go for £45 each which includes drinks-except for the aforementioned champagnes and cocktails.

Wednesday evening the action moves to the Adam Street Private Member’s Club located just off the Strand in the West End. “After Dark,” as the affair is known, is a new addition to the ICE social calendar. The evening starts with drinks and conversation and progresses to drinks and dancing. Again, the £45 ticket includes the basic drink menu.

And finally, for those who can still stand, the annual post-ICE ball will take place at the Dorchester Hotel on Thursday evening. For the first time, the British Casino Association will be organizing the traditional, formal event.

Lady Cobham, chairperson of the British Casino Association, said of the event, “Not only is the social aspect of the ball unsurpassed, but it has also succeeded in helping raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charitable causes. We look forward to welcoming our casino industry colleagues from around the world in January and, for the first time, acting as true hosts of the Casino Ball.”

Tickets for the newly renamed Casino Ball (formerly the ICE Ball) must be requested from Tracy Damestani of the BCA on +44 (0)20 7730 1055.

ICE FACTS AND LOGISTICS

  •   ICE and ICEi are open only to those working in the gaming industry. Entry to either show is free and pre-registration is recommended. A complete online registration facility can be found at www.ice-exhibition.com or www.icei-exhibition.com.
  • Opening hours of the exhibitions are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 22 and Wednesday, January 23. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Thursday, January 24.
  • Earls Court Exhibition Centre hosts the eFORCE Business Centre, managed by a team of professionals who provide excellent service. Facilities and services include PC workstations and laptop connections, printing, photocopying, binding, translation, couriers, fax and telephone. Meeting rooms are also available.
  • The exhibition center has a wide variety of food and beverage offerings, providing everything from a quick snack to a full meal. Situated within the exhibit areas are also the ICE Bar and the ICEi Bar.
  • On accommodations, ICE organizers have negotiated discounts with a wide range of London hotels. Check the online hotel guide at the ICE website for details.

Games RulesSports should look to casinos for integerity

Gambling and sports are understandable bedfellows. From backing the favorite to predicting a famous giant-killing, a wager adds a tangible layer of tension to even the most tedious kick-about, punch-up or run-around. However, suspicions that tense athletic events have been choreographed, pre-arranged or manufactured have grown exponentially of late; soccer, tennis and basketball are the most recent sports in the dock.

In this ICE feature, we look at how the world of professional sports could turn to the casino industry for ways to design, promote and safeguard regulation, reputation and integrity.

Despite the growing, often-astronomic returns enjoyed by professional sports, it must be tempting to make a little on the side. A missed free throw here, a goalkeeping error or a fake injury there-the potential for hoodwinking the public, punters and TV cameras is endless.

And so it has proved of late in professional sports.  No sporting industry wants to publicly admit it has a gambling problem. To do so would reduce the amount of sponsorship the sector would be able to generate and increase the chance of state intervention in the game, something the NBA wants to avoid at all cost. Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois, head of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, has already requested a meeting with NBA Commissioner David Stern over the scandal involving referee Tim Donaghy, and is considering calling a hearing on the matter “should the facts warrant public scrutiny.”

With sports in the dock, perhaps they need to turn to other games to see how an industry can clean up. Alan Feldman, senior vice president of MGM Mirage, thinks it is time sports took a leaf out of the gaming book.

“We’re one of the most highly regulated industries in America, and we live and die on our integrity,” said Feldman. “We can do nothing to put that in jeopardy. In fact, if it turns out that the NBA is shown to be incapable of protecting the integrity of its game, it’s not a league we need to have in Las Vegas.”

Vegas takes transparency and integrity extremely seriously-understandably, as failure to do so would jeopardize its share of a booming U.S. market; the nation has witnessed the near doubling of legal gambling in just 10 years-to $83.7 billion in 2005, according to the American Gaming Association.

The degree to which the Nevada gambling industry submits to open scrutiny of its various games is indisputably intense, and association with a professional sports franchise (long coveted by Las Vegas) without transparency could cause real problems for the city.

Compare that with an American baseball industry that has balked at increased background checks from Commissioner Bud Selig’s office, calling the initiative a “knee-jerk, misguided witch hunt” in response to the NBA betting scandal.

Imagine the casino industry doing the same with croupiers. Visitors to Las Vegas know how games work, who works them and what the industry’s revenues are. For the most part, American casinos are treated no differently than banks by the federal government.

The 1985 Bank Secrecy Act, for example, requires casinos to report every deposit, every withdrawal, every exchange of currency, gambling tokens or chips of a value in excess of $10,000. The Nevada Gaming Commission has more than 400 employees.

The NBA, as much as any other sport, would do well to view the long-term benefits of transparency. The casino sector has worked hard to ensure that customers know how their product works. The failure of sports to do the same could lead to dwindling spectators, sponsorship and TV ratings. At least we know the World Series of Poker is safe-well, flourishing and honest.

The Ugly Game – At the end of July, 31-year-old Italian national team striker David Di Michele was banned for three months for illegal betting. Di Michele had been accused of betting “directly or through third parties, on the results of official matches organized by the FIGC (Italian Football Federation).” The maximum possible ban was three years, putting into context the relatively mild response to Di Michele’s wrongdoing.

Game, Set and Match – Nikolay Davydenko was at the center of an investigation into irregular betting. The match was between Davydenko and 87th-ranked Argentinean Martin Vassallo Arguello at the Polish Open. The Betfair sports gambling book in Britain suspended payments on the match when it saw about $7 million in wagers, 10 times the usual amount. Most of the money was on Arguello to win, even after Davydenko won the first set 6-2. Arguello won when Davydenko withdrew in the third set with a foot injury.

Free Throw? – It is in the National Basketball Association that the most public-case betting scandal has tipped off. The FBI is investigating referee Tim Donaghy, who has been accused of betting on games, possibly ones he officiated and possibly the all-important playoffs. It was the San Antonio Spurs who were said to have benefited from Donaghy’s decisions in their NBA semifinal matchup with the Phoenix Suns.  The NBA betting scandal could have a large impact on basketball in general. In a Zogby poll conducted at the end of July, one-third of NBA fans said they had less interest in the league because of the scandal, and two-thirds of the 7,362 respondents thought that Donaghy’s case was the tip of the iceberg.

Feature developed in partnership with ICE. For more information, visit www.ice-exhibition.com

ICE 2008 EXHIBITORS

  • Acrosser Technology Co. Ltd. 3952
  • 3M Touch Systems UK Ltd. 3570
  • A W Neoon 3565
  • Abbiati Casino Equipment s.n.c 3240
  • Advansys d.o.o 3365
  • Advantech 4080
  • AEWIN Technologies Co.,Ltd. 4199
  • Ainsworth Game Technology Ltd. 3440
  • Alfastreet-Pockaj d.o.o. 3210
  • Ally Star Technologies Inc. 4096
  • Altoona srl 4194
  • Amatic Industries GmbH with Genesis Games Ltd. 3720
  • Andromica Video Systems 3507
  • Apex Gaming Technology 3740
  • Applus+ CTC 3112
  • Aristocrat Technologies Europe Ltd. 3410
  • Aruze Corporation 4170
  • Ascend Media Gaming Group 3505
  • AstroSystems Ltd. 3950
  • Atronic International GmbH 3020
  • Avantime Amusement Technology 3750
  • Bally Technologies 3540
  • Belatra Co., Ltd. 3516
  • Belgian Gaming Technology 3225
  • BetStone 3480
  • BHS Böhm e.K. 3975
  • Blackpool and The Fylde College 3456
  • BMM International Pty Ltd. 3506
  • Boser Technology Co., Ltd. 4098
  • Cadillac Jack 3264
  • Camlock Systems Ltd. 4122
  • Cammegh Ltd. 3125
  • Carat Technology d.o.o 3730
  • Card Scanning Solutions 4197
  • CardPOS Europe Ltd. 4192
  • Carmanah Technologies Corporation 3760
  • Cartamundi 3442
  • CashCode Company Inc. 3235
  • Casino & Gaming International 3454
  • Casino Compendium 4092
  • Casino International Magazine 3764
  • Casino Life 3704
  • Casino Locking Systems 3650
  • Casino Review 3284
  • Casino Supplies GmbH 3315
  • Casino Technology 3270
  • Casino World 3701
  • Casinos Austria International 3460
  • Casinos de Latinoamerica 3982
  • Centre for Advanced Software Technology Ltd. 4196
  • Cermel Group 3598
  • Clarion ATE 0000
  • Coastal International Exb. Co. Ltd. 4094
  • Craft Data Ltd. 3266
  • CTC Holdings 3475
  • Custom Engineering UK Ltd. 4035
  • Cyberview Technology Ltd. 3340
  • Dal Negro SpA 3660
  • Dallmeier Elec.c GmbH & Co. KG 3360
  • Data Modul Ltd. 4065
  • Densitron Gaming 3252
  • Display Technology Ltd. 3761
  • Distribucija Programskih Apikacija d.o.o 3576
  • DLV Ltd. 3584
  • Electra ST d.o.o 3030
  • Elektroncek d.d 3200
  • Elo TouchSystems 3444
  • Empire Casino Recruitment & Consultancy 3420
  • Entropy International Co., Ltd. 3707
  • Euro Games Technology Ltd. 3380
  • Eurocoin Limited 4040
  • European Casinos The Elite 3982A
  • Eurosiege 3504
  • Euroslot 3764A
  • Evona Electronic 3550
  • Expo 24 Romania 3703
  • F2 Systems, Inc. 4020
  • Fair Play SRL 3710
  • Forge Europa 3464
  • Fournier Playing Cards 3250
  • FSN Display Inc. 4084
  • Future Gaming 3560
  • FutureLogic Europe Ltd. 4030
  • G PLANET d.d. 3860
  • G2B 4184
  • G3 Magazine 3984
  • Gamcare 4074
  • Game Plus Co., Ltd. 4099
  • Gamer Casino Seating 3422
  • Gamesman Ltd. 4120
  • GAMESYSTEM s.c. M.Rymarz-T. Czajkowski 4090
  • Gametronix 3500
  • Gaming Laboratories Europe 3610
  • Gaming Partners International SAS 3330
  • Gaming Standards Association 3031
  • Gaming Support 3010
  • Gaming Technologies 3372
  • Gasser Chair Company, Inc. 3370
  • Giesecke & Devrient GmbH 3374
  • Gkit Ltd. 3282
  • Global Cash Access 3256
  • Global Gaming Business 4072
  • Global Gaming Expo 3452
  • Global Gaming Industries Pty Ltd. 3980
  • Global Payment Technologies (Europe) Ltd. 3116
  • Glory UK 4180
  • Gold Club d.o.o. 3040
  • GPEG International Ltd. 3763
  • GZ Technologies Inc. 4142
  • Hanteck 4184A
  • Heber Limited 4165
  • HERMES SoftLab d.d. 3502
  • ICIT d.o.o 3470
  • ID-Interactive 3574
  • IGT-Europe 3430
  • Industrias Lorenzo S.A 4050
  • Informatica Franco, SA 3070
  • Innovative Technology Ltd. 4130
  • InterGaming 3702
  • Intervision Marketing Ltd. 4198
  • IPS, S.L. 3942
  • J.Preedy & Sons Ltd. 4066
  • JCM American Corp. 3850
  • Kare Technology 3645
  • Kimble Gaming Ltd. 3960
  • Kiron Interactive (Pty) Ltd. 4076
  • Konami Gaming, Inc. 3090
  • Kontron Embedded Modules GmbH 4060
  • Lanner Electronics 4024
  • Las Vegas Gaming, Inc. 3572
  • Lucky Line d.o.o 3080
  • Martin Williams Casino Equipment 3335
  • Master Games 3954
  • Matsui Gaming Machine Co. Ltd. 3215
  • MD Gaming Int. Ltd. 3450
  • MEI 3930
  • Micro Sova Co Ltd. 4190
  • Modiano SPA 3466
  • Money Controls Ltd. 4145
  • Morse Watchman UK Ltd. 3508
  • Multiscan Corp 4082
  • Nanoptix Inc. 3262
  • New Sun Yu Enterprise Co., Ltd. 3120
  • NICE Systems 3376
  • NMi 3254
  • Novomatic – Austrian Gaming
  • Industries 3050
  • Octavian 3230
  • Odrex 4070
  • Onetouch Technologies Co., Ltd. 3110
  • Paradise Entertainment Ltd. 3595
  • Pascual Consult bvba 4160
  • Patir-Design GmbH 3630
  • Playtrix Research Inc. 4022
  • Prestige Seating Tech. (UK) Ltd. 3320
  • Prize Magazine 3700
  • Progressive Gaming International (UK) Ltd. 3310
  • Project Coin Machines Ltd. 4150
  • Quixant Ltd. 4140
  • Red Planet Gaming GmbH 4093
  • Royce and Bach 3510
  • SAGSE 3956
  • Scan Coin Ltd. 4055
  • Set-Production 3220
  • Shuffle Master GmbH & Co KG 3350
  • SIG-Expo 3970
  • Signs 4U B.V. 3345
  • SIQ 3424
  • Sleic S.L. 3512
  • StylGame S.R.L 3260
  • Suzo Happ group 3920
  • Taiwan Fulgent 3600
  • Talleres de Escoriaza S.A.U 3944
  • TCS John Huxley 3000
  • TOVIS (Total Visual Appliance) 4120A
  • Tranchant Gaming Technology 3400
  • Unidesa Gaming & Systems 3300
  • Uniforms by John Marks 3114
  • University of Nevada Reno 3705
  • Video B Holdings Ltd. 3485
  • Vitco 4188
  • WagerWorks 3620
  • WEBAK games Austria 3385
  • White Conveyors, Inc. 4189
  • WMS Gaming 3060
  • XtalE Ltd. 3582
  • Yogonet.com 3762
  • Zephyr d.o.o 3280
  • Zest Gaming 3940
  • Zitro Games S.L. 3585

ICEi – Exhibitors

  • Greentube I.E.S AG 5020
  • IGaming Business 3708
  • Initial Poker 5125
  • Inside Gaming Ltd. 5200
  • Intelimax Media Inc. 3706
  • Intouch Games Ltd. 5212
  • Iovation, Inc. 5315
  • Isle of Man Government 5320
  • Ixaris Systems Ltd. 5362
  • Magneta Technologies Ltd. 5412
  • Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority 5345
  • Media Corporation Plc 5422
  • Media Systems Ltd. 5444
  • MGame Solutions 5424
  • Microgaming Software Systems Ltd. 5230
  • Moconso AG 5040
  • Net Entertainment 5270
  • NIT d.o.o. 5300
  • Nyx Interactive AB 4124
  • Orbis Technology 5370
  • Parlay Entertainment Ltd. 5225
  • Parspro Ltd. 5210
  • Partouche Interactive 5375
  • Pentasia IGaming Recruitment Consultancy 5430
  • PIMS SCA 5363
  • Play LA Inc. 5310
  • Player2Players 5532
  • Playtech Software Ltd. 5260
  • Probability PLC 5220
  • Puntocasino Ltd. 5332
  • Safecharge 5316
  • Safepay Int. 5330
  • Sovereign Corporate & Fiscal Services Ltd. 5530
  • States of Alderney / Alderney
  • Gambling 5340
  • Swiss-One 5364
  • TransBank 5520
  • Trimark Gaming Inc. 5360