Around a month ago, Africa saw its first ever large-scale gaming conference held in Johannesburg. The event was organised by the same team responsible for other prominent gaming expos such as Juegos Miami and the original ICE which is held in London. ICE Africa took place at the Sandton Convention Centre from the 24th till the 26th October, attracting visitors from over 52 different countries, 16 of them African.
Clarion Gaming, the team behind the conference, recognised Africa’s potential to transform into the world’s next big gaming hub, following the success of of the inaugural Gaming Africa event that took place last year. This is precisely why they decided to take the plunge with ICE Africa, and take the ICE brand out of London for the very first time. Bringing together both well established industry brands as well as newer ones, the event provided a platform for locals who wanted to find out more about the industry and what it takes to work or grow a business within it.
Managing director of Clarion Gaming, Kate Chambers expressed her certainty that while ICE Africa could not be expected to be on par with ICE London, it would still bring the same ingredients to the table:“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.”
ICE Africa Conference and Expo Floor
It’s no secret that the African continent has seen a rise in both the number of physical casinos and gambling dens as well as their virtual counterparts over the past couple of years, leading to a multi-billion dollar gaming industry which makes up a large part of its economy. According to experts, the industry will continue to develop and grow in the next few years with certain segments, such as online gaming sites in South Africa, surpassing others. According to Playcasino, the latter is very likely due to the latest batch of new regulations which were passed recently in a bid to protect players from the threats posed by online gambling sites which are not licensed or regulated.
As the only pan-African event so far to promote B2B gaming, ICE Africa provided free attendance for both the expo floor and conference. Delegates had the opportunity to become more informed on various facets of the gambling industry both across the continent as well as on a global level, with talks on everything from investment opportunities and anti-money laundering policies to payment solutions and PR too. There were several regulator round tables which gave operators the chance to ask regulators about licensing requirements across different jurisdictions. Totally Gaming Academy also provided training masterclasses for those who wanted a deeper level of understanding.
At the end of each day, a networking drinks reception encouraged delegates to continue honing their business relationships while making new contacts in a less formal environment.
If attendance was anything to go by, then the event was definitely a success in that respect, attracting over 12,000 delegates from across the world, 61% of whom represented African businesses. It also helped that some of biggest industry operators, regulators, software developers and payment providers made an appearance, whether exhibiting or speaking.
Some big industry giants such as BetConstruct, Neosurf and SuperBet sponsored the event along with the support of prominent authorities, including the European Casino Association, the South African Bookmakers’ Association, the Industry Group for Responsible Gaming.
Chambers promised that ICE Africa would 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 it definitely didn’t disappoint. Following its massive success, we can definitely expect more great things from the gambling industry in Africa over the next decade.