ICE Totally Gaming is the preeminent trade show/conference in the gambling industry, rivaled only by Global Gaming Expo (G2E). But up until now, G2E has been the US show, with ICE maintaining its European roots and focus.
That’s about to change.
For the first time, Clarion Gaming is bringing a version of ICE to the US.
ICE North America will run from May 13-15 in Boston, Massachusetts. The three-day event will feature education seminars, panels, and a showroom floor where attendees can get a glimpse of the products of today and tomorrow.
ICE North America won’t be on the same scale as ICE Totally Gaming in London. The Boston Convention Center is estimating attendance of 500 on its website — an estimate that is likely pretty low — whereas ICE London measures attendance in the tens of thousands.
That said, with Clarion at the helm, you can expect a great show and plenty to do and see.
Clarion put together an informative, pertinent conference schedule teeming with some of the best minds in the industry.
As such, it’s hard to narrow down the conference agenda to a few “must-see” sessions.
I’ll do my best below.
Tuesday at 9 a.m.
US sports and wagering 2019 and 2029: building a new industry from the ground up
ICE North America will kick-off with an action-packed session that includes two owners of professional sports teams, and the head of the most entrenched legal sportsbook in the US.
Tuesday at 10:15 a.m.
One year on from the Supreme Court case, how much has the US eaten into an illegal market of billions?
This session will help answer the billion-dollar question: Is legal sports betting creating new gamblers; shifting spend from black to white markets; or a bit of both?
Tuesday at 1:15 p.m.
Motion: sports betting and iGaming will under-deliver on policymakers’ revenue expectations
This is a timely topic (and one I’ve recently touched upon), as missed projections could sink sports betting efforts in any number of states.
Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.
Checking in with Pennsylvania: Progress report on first iGaming and sports betting licenses awarded, post DoJ reinterpretation
With online sports betting’s launch imminent, and online casino and poker slated for a mid-July start, all eyes will continue to be on Pennsylvania.
Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Motion: We need to redefine gambling vs. gaming
Based on the lineup, this doesn’t look like a typical responsible gaming session at a conference. And that has me very interested in checking it out.
Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.
Motion: the DoJ reinterpretation of the Wire Act creates short-term headaches but will lead to legal clarity in the long-term
The new Wire Act opinion issued by the DOJ has added confusion to what is already a tumultuous climate.
*Alternate session at 10:30 a.m.
Trailblazers in the US affiliate market: Learning from Catena Media
A pair of colleagues will also be presenting at 10:30 on Wednesday, but not on the Wire Act, or responsible gaming, or sports betting. This is an affiliate focused panel, namely, what it takes to be a US affiliate in the current climate of legalization.
Wednesday at 1 p.m.
Sports betting in Indian Country – an opportunity or risk?
An always important, but often overlooked aspect of gambling is the tribal perspective. The tribal casino industry rivals the commercial casino industry in the US, and in many states it will be tribes that determine the future of gambling.
There are no shortage of scheduled events to attend during ICE North America (some hosted by Clarion, and others by specific vendors) but the city of Boston also has plenty of things to do and see.
As a Bay State resident I’ll go off-script for a minute and offer up a few suggestions.
Boston boasts a number of dining choices. From high-end steakhouses to locally sourced seafood to modern cuisine, Boston has a bit of everything, and at pretty much any price point.
The Boston Conference Center is located near the waterfront, in the Fort Point area that houses some of the better seafood restaurants in the city.
If Italian is your thing, pretty much anywhere in the North End (about a 15-20 minute ride from the conference center) will be a pleasant experience.
Anyone interested in visiting iconic Fenway Park will have multiple opportunities, as the Red Sox are hosting the Rockies on May 14th and 15th.
If the series gets to that point, Game 7 of the Celtics-Bucks series is slated for May 13. The game itself is in Milwaukee, but watching a Game 7 at any local bar can often be a better experience than attending the game.
Some other options: