Saturday, August 13, 2022

ICE looks east as Asia-focused firms make a splash


Delegates arriving at the ExCeL in London’s East End for the 2017 edition of ICE Totally Gaming at the start of February were greeted by a host of Asian gaming suppliers keen to expand their reach.

The main entrance was dominated by advertising from a number of Asia-facing firms, including BBIN, SA Gaming and Asia Gaming, who all also took sizeable stands at the show.

One European-based supplier told AGB that Asia was “undoubtedly the focus this year,” adding that they had agreed a significant deal with a Vietnam-facing operator at the show.

Meanwhile ICE Vox, the show’s accompanying schedule of educational seminars, also placed Asia high on the agenda, with sessions including a roundtable on casino projects across the region.

“I think the Asian operators and suppliers are doing a great job recognizing the value of exhibiting at ICE,” Patrick Jay, a leading industry consultant who previously spent five years as director of trading at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, told AGB.

“I saw AsianLogic's Dimi Karatzas and I think when you get people of that standing from companies of such exceptional performance and background, you know they are in the right place and doing the right thing,” Jay added.

Among the first time exhibitors at this year’s ICE was SA Gaming, which took a large stand at the show and provided running updates on its website from London.

The supplier described ICE as “a golden opportunity to build your trust in us” and concluded that “the experience we gained from the show is beyond invaluable.”

Another first-time ICE exhibitor, supplier BBIN, trailed its stand heavily with posters around the ExCeL branded as “the best bet of Asia”.

BBIN said its appearance at ICE was to “demonstrate its brand image and vision to the world” adding that it aimed “to realize its mission to become Asia's gaming portal”.

One Asian supplier with a more established European presence, Asia Gaming, said this year’s ICE was an opportunity to showcase “its ambitions for global growth”.

“Live dealer online gaming is already a proven casino channel in the Asia-Pacific region and it’s now set to become the next big thing in Europe and other international markets,” said Asia Gaming’s sales director Kelvin Chiu.

“We see ICE as Europe’s premier international gaming show, providing the perfect platform to show the variety of live dealer games and white label solutions we can offer,” he added.

Despite the growing size of ICE’s Asian presence, these exhibitors were still dwarfed by the largest of their European and North American counterparts. Novomatic took an entire exhibition hall to itself at the show, while other supplier giants including IGT, Scientific Games, Microgaming and Playtech also took significant spaces.

However, Jay said the growing size of stands of Asia-based suppliers was a sign that some are beginning to compete with their European and North American rivals on the global stage - at least across certain markets, products and services.

“In others they are still a way behind but I think being long on Asia when it comes to gaming is the proverbial no brainer,” he added.

Pivot to Asia

Asia was also a focus for a number of firms at ICE not directly based in the region.

All-In Translations, a Malta-headquartered language services provider for the igaming industry, displayed a Japanese and simplified Chinese localization of a virtual tennis game from 1X2 Gaming on its tennis-themed stand at ICE.

“When it comes to giving companies an international boost of players, we can help Asian companies to get into other markets as well as non-Asian companies to get into Asia. We met with a lot of people in London looking at both scenarios, including game developers, operators, platform providers and affiliates,” Roy Pedersen, founder and CEO of All-In Translations, told AGB.

“In 2017 we have already noticed a drastic increase in orders for Japanese, Vietnamese and Indonesian gaming localization. The demand for traditional Chinese translations decreased slightly in 2016 compared to 2015, whereas there is a constant growth for simplified Chinese which remains our most popular Asian language,” he added.

Pedersen said that All-In Translations has already achieved high market awareness in Europe, so was increasingly directing its marketing around trade shows at Asia.

“We believe Asia is the continent with the most potential, so one of our most important goals for 2017 is to promote our brand in the Asian gaming hubs,” he said.

Despite a strong Asian presence at ICE this year, those with serious intentions in the region are likely continue to focus on the local trade shows, with G2E Asia in Macau the next major stop on the calendar in May.

However, as ICE 2017 displayed, the global gaming industry’s pivot to Asia shows no sign of abating.

 

Asia Gaming Brief is a news and intelligence service providing up to date market information for worldwide executives on relevant gaming issues in Asia.

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