Last week’s news that ICE Totally Gaming 2018 was the biggest on record will have come as no surprise. Perhaps even less surprising was the significant increase in attendance from North American stakeholders. SBC Americas spoke with Kate Chambers, managing director of show organiser Clarion Gaming to find out more about the relationship that ICE enjoys with the US gaming sector.

North America participation at ICE this year was ahead by 33 per cent. Was that solely attributable to the PASPA suite or are there other factors that influenced the rise?

Clearly changes in legislation or the prospects of change will impact attendance whether that’s positively or negatively. Clarion Gaming stages events throughout the world and we knew from our experience at November’s launch of Sports Betting USA, which was a standing room only affair such was the level of interest, that ICE London would in all probability experience an increase in attendance from North America and in particular from the United States. We have worked tirelessly to make ICE London into an internationally respected brand and each year we invest in developing its profile and building its reputation with stakeholders in every part of the gaming world. ICE London is the best place to see the industry in action and to meet the people with the knowledge, insight and contacts to make things happen, factors which I believe explain why a record 33,536 gaming professionals from 153 nations made the journey to be with us in February.

What feedback have you had from the North American contingent at ICE, both from a visitor and exhibitor perspective?

We conduct an exhaustive programme of customer research after each of our events but in terms of specific feedback from our North American stakeholders that tends to be the product of the ongoing dialogue we enjoy with exhibitors, opinion formers and influencers including speakers at ICE VOX. In 2017 we hosted a party of US based gaming professionals many of whom had not previously been to ICE and their feedback to the ICE experience was extremely useful. Clarion Gaming also has a US office and of course we organise GiGse which this year is taking place in Miami alongside the LatAm facing Juegos Miami. The level of engagement we enjoy with North America is very positive and I am always interested in learning how we can develop it further.

Esports is on a rapid rise, particularly in the US. Is this an area that ICE will be looking to attract even more interest from for 2019?

Esports is incredibly important which is why we dedicated so much of ICE VOX to the phenomenon. In fact we know from the registration data that 20 percent of the ICE London attendance had an interest in eSports. It’s the mix of verticals that ICE caters for that explain its popularity.