The newly configured International Gaming Expo (IGE) received a highly positive endorsement from buyers, who travelled from 126 sovereign territories to attend the inaugural event, which was staged across the entire ground floor of London’s Earls Court 1 & 2 exhibition halls.
Attendees at the total gaming show, which comprised 335 exhibitors from the low-stake gaming, remote gaming, lotteries, betting and land-based casino sectors, numbered 16,692. A further 4,015 badge holders from the co-located ATEI amusements event crossed over into IGE, swelling the overall attendance to 20,707.
The leading visitor nations (outside of the United Kingdom) were Italy (664 visitors), Austria, (628), Germany (554), Spain (551), Netherlands (543), USA (440), Sweden (417), Malta (387), Slovenia (352), Ireland (293), France (263) and Czech Republic (213). A further 12 countries were represented by visitor delegations in excess of 100.
Jurisdictions represented for the first time comprised Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu and the Wallis & Fortuna Islands. The London gaming show also welcomed back its first visitors from Bahrain since 1997, from Algeria since 2002, from Aruba since 2003 and from Bermuda since 2004.
Reflecting on the launch of IGE, Peter Rusbridge, Chief Executive Officer of organisers Clarion Gaming, said: “IGE isn’t the biggest gaming event in the world, but it is the most comprehensive, involving exhibitors from all corners of the gaming landscape. The ability to see so much quality and variety at a single exhibition is IGE’s key selling point and one which engaged with buyers who attended from throughout the world.”
Referring to the distribution of IGE attendees, Rusbridge acknowledged the existence of sector ‘hot spots’ within the halls: “The demand for exhibitor space and the response from attendees certainly reflected the current buoyancy and optimism that exists within the remote gaming sector,” he stated. “This was balanced by what our exhibitors have reported as a decrease in the number of visitors from the land-based casino market.
Tracy Cohen of TCS John Huxley confirmed: “At first, we thought it was going to be quiet. G2E numbers were down and we were worried that might be the case here. Whatever the case, we have definitely had the right people visit us – the decision makers. Instead of large parties of delegates attending from one company it was the decision makers only. We have definitely seen the right people.”
Daniel Lindsay, General Manager – Sales & Marketing of Aristocrat Technologies Europe, echoed this view: “I think what we have seen in London is a slightly different approach from operators. Overall visitor numbers have not reached the heights of previous years, but we have found it has been the decision makers that have made the journey to London, a factor which has probably put a sharper business focus on the event.”
An e-gaming perspective was provided by Boss Media’s Mery Blomqvist, who stated: “I would describe IGE as very positive. Compared to last year, the quality has been much higher. There has been an excellent representation of international visitors to our stand. We have had more countries coming along than in 2008. I love London; it has been a very, very successful few days.”
Next year’s International Gaming Expo, incorporating ICE and ICEi, takes place at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London on 26/27/28 January 2010.