COVID airport

Last week, amidst dramatically rising COVID case numbers, the long-awaited ICE London 2022 conference, due to take place between 31st January and 3rd February, was postponed to spring.

The organiser, Clarion Gaming, is said to be carrying out due diligence on two potential dates in April, in partnership with the senior management team at the ExCeL London venue. 

“This comes as really disappointing news for everyone connected with ICE London and iGB Affiliate London,” Clarion Gaming managing director Stuart Hunter said. 

Indeed, many in the industry have expressed disappointment about the decision to postpone the event, and many took to social media to provide their two cent.

Eurocoin Group, for example, said it was disappointed to be missing the long-awaited reunion, but said it completely “supports the decision taken” by the organisers.

“In these very difficult and potentially dangerous Omicron-variant times, we must place the health and safety of our team members and all ICE show visitors at the absolute top of our collective agenda,” it acknowledged.

Technamin, a player account management system, was similarly complimentary towards Clarion for making the difficult decision, extending its gratitude, and thanking the company for prioritising the health and safety of all ICE attendees.

In the meantime, Technamin commented it is happy to report that things are buzzing as it prepares for a “successful year ahead.”

Similarly, Roberto Villani, head of iGaming at TrueLayer, acknowledged that the postponement was “sad news,” but said that it was overall the correct decision in his opinion.

“ICE is one of my favourite events of the iGaming calendar year,” he said, before addressing his network, friends and colleagues, saying: “Enjoy your holidays with friends and families! We will be back stronger in 2022.”

Others emphasised the damage the cancellation will deal to the wider iGaming industry, including Slava Zhuk, founder of Betsy Games, who said he was “very upset” that the event was cancelled, after waiting for it for two years.

“The entire industry is starving and needs this event because it is the most prestigious and most significant one in Europe,” he explained.

While the blow was naturally disappointing for the exhibitors, it has come as even more of a shock for the events industry.

This was acknowledged by GameOn’s Sarah Blackburn, who explained that as many event suppliers will be concerned about ICE being postponed, her company is offering a free service to effected companies, in the form of a press release distribution offering to key B2B gaming media, up till the end of March.

She also invited concerned companies for a free short call with social media expert Siobhan Neligan, who will provide advice on how companies can improve their social media channels, so when events return, companies can be as optimised as possible.

Last but not least, for Clarion’s hardworking staff, being forced by circumstance to cancel the event has been a hard blow.

Alex Pratt, the company’s managing director, said he “couldn’t be more gutted for the team, the industry and [Clarion’s] customers. Everyone has worked so hard on the show for almost two years, and it’s heartbreaking to postpone it, but it’s also the right thing to do.”

However, he also expressed optimism: “This is like a pause pre finale in the best box set you have ever seen. Totally and utterly frustrating, but it will be back and when it is we will all have a front seat ready to enjoy the show!”

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