ICE London – 2020 will be an eventful year

Viktor Vangelov | Published 10 Feb 2020, 3:21 p.m.

The 2020 ICE London is behind us and there are few key notes that marked the event. This is one of the largest gambling events in the world, featuring some of the largest operators, including companies headquartered in the UK, as well as ones that are based elsewhere but have a strong presence on the UK market.

Every year, we see important people attending and addressing the conference and the prevalent issues that are discussed at the Conference stay in the focus for the remainder of the year. We already covered the Global Gaming Awards 2020, and last year we reported on the operators that won awards – it was Leo Vegas that came away with the top casino prize, but we also did a piece on the games that were released ahead of the event.  

This year we decided to focus more on the topics that were discussed, which are likely to remain focal discussion points in 2020.

Usain Bolt gathered the crowd

As it is usually the case on the ICE, there are some A-list celebrities, most notably athletes such as footballers and boxers. On previous ICEs we’ve seen people like Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen, as well as famous boxer Tyson Fury. This year’s star was definitely and undoubtedly Usain Bolt – the fastest man on Earth.

It is ungrateful to compare the attention that each of the participants in previous events attracted, but it could be said that Bolt definitely gathered the crowd at the ICE. Plus, Bolt wasn’t reluctant to speak to the media, so a lot of news outlets got a statement from him.

Multiple issues were discussed

But that was the entertainment bit of the agenda, let’s move on to the more serious topics that got coverage. Fixed odds betting terminals were discussed, and this came as a surprise to no one. After all, 2019 was the year when the betting limit on FOBTs was implemented in April and many UK operators complained that the new limit caused them to lose revenue with some of them being forced to lay staff off.

Sports betting in the US paired with daily fantasy sports was another key topic and that is hardly surprising. Our regular readers know that we’ve covered this topic on a number of occasions in 2019. Still, since there’s an upcoming conference in the US, ICE North America to be held in New Orleans in May, these issues are more likely to be discussed at that event more extensively.

Tom Watson delivered a speech

Tom Watson, former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and an MP addressed the audience at the ICE, and while he is considered to be one of the fiercest opponents of gambling in politics, his speech was more balanced this time.

Maybe the fact that this time he was addressing the industry via its representatives rather than the general public had something to do with it.

Watson stated, at the beginning of his speech, that the industry provides fun and entertainment when it is correctly and responsibly regulated. However, he didn’t dismiss the proposal for a £2 wagering limit on online slots, akin to the limit that’s already implemented on FOBTs.