Sports betting will the focus of conference next week

A Big Gambling Conference Comes To Boston: A Guide To ICE North America

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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.

Say hello to ICE North America

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.

Must see panels

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.

Big names kick off the show

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.


  • Adam Rosenberg, Managing Director, Global Head of Gaming and Leisure, Credit Funds, Fortress Investment Group


  • Jonathan Kraft, President, The Kraft Group
  • Wes Edens, Co-Owner, Milwaukee Bucks and Aston Villa Football Club, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Fortress Investment Group
  • Joe Asher, CEO, William Hill US

Surprise… More sports betting!

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?


  • David Henwood, Director, H2 Gambling Capital

States overpromise and under-deliver

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.


  • Jason Giles, Executive Director, National Indian Gaming Association
  • Michael Pollock, Managing Director, Spectrum Gaming
  • Pat Garofalo, Representative, Minnesota House of Representatives

A Pennsylvania checkup

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.


  • Kimberly Maxson-Rushton, Partner, Cooper Levinson


  • Jon Kaplowitz, Head of Interactive, Penn National Gaming
  • Susan Hensel, Director of Licensing, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
  • Richard Schwartz, President, Rush Street Interactive

Is it gaming or gambling?

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.


  • Chris Stearns, Commissioner, Washington State Gambling Commission
  • Justin Stempeck, Associate Counsel, Massachusetts Gaming Commission
  • Bill Gantz, Co-Chair, Gaming Sector Practice, Dentons
  • Michael Carpenter, CEO & Co-Founder, Ruby Red Studios
  • Luc Delany, CEO, ISGA

A look at the new Wire Act opinion

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.


  • Matthew D. McGill, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
  • Jim Ryan, CEO, Pala Interactive

*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.


  • Ryan Harper, US Head of Revenue, Catena Media
  • Dustin Gouker, US Head of Content, Catena Media

Sports betting and tribal casinos

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.


  • Victor Rocha, owner, and President, Victor Strategies


  • Rodney Butler, Chairman, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council
  • Mark Macarro, Chairman, Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians
  • Bea Carson, Chairwoman, Choctaw Gaming Commission

Exploring Boston in May

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.

Where to dine

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.

What to do

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:

  • The Museum of Fine Arts.
  • The ultra-touristy Duck Boat Tour (just to say you did it).
  • The Freedom Trail.
  • The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
  • Just walk around. You won’t find too many better “walking cities” in the US.
- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.
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