ICE London 2022 has come and gone but there was a lot of lessons learnt.
I attended the #ICE from the 12-14th of April 2022 and it was a well organised and attended event; needless to say that it was a very productive event. I mingled with the large crowds, attended online webinars, observed panels and round table talks and self-learnt on the presentations and different organisations take, on issues affecting the gaming industry.
I met, networked and learnt quite a lot from formal and informal chats with some of the industry’s big wigs like Entain, Flutter, Softgaming, Playtech, Pascal, Kindred Group Plc, Caesars Entertainment, Pragmatic Play, Jumio, Gambling Commission, Isle of Man Government, TGP etc.
I spent a lot of time in Consumer Protection Zone, listening and talking to individuals and organisations working towards safer online gambling, such as GamCare, GamStop, YGAM, GamBan, Responsible Gambling Council and Simon Vincze with his amazing global self-exclusion initiative.
I also attended the event organized by KPMG and Clarion gaming with the main focus on Economic Social & Governance (ESG) and Diversity & Inclusion (D & I) and how the industry operators, providers and their advisers are approaching the issues surrounding these areas.
I met a lot of awesome women breaking bias in the global gaming industry, like #Charmaine Mabuza (CEO Ithuba), #Ewa Bakun (Director of Industry, Insight & Engagement- Clarion Gaming), #Tina-Thakor Rankin (Principal consultant- 1710 Gaming Ltd & Founder/CEO; All-in-one-diversity), #Maarja Part (CEO- Yolo Group), #Grainne Hurst (Director, Corporate Affairs- Entain), #Anna Sainsbury (CEO/Chairman & Co-founder, GeoComply), #Fiona Palmer (CEO- GamStop), #Anna Hemmings, (CEO- GamCare), #Jeanette Lewis (Manager, Corporate Affairs and Communication, Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission Jamaica), #Maris Catania, (Kindred Group head of Responsible Gaming & Research) and a host of other amazing and inspiring women, some of whom has become allies and great acquaintances.
A huge thank you to Ewa Bakun of Clarion Events, she is such an inspiration. All in all, ICE London was a well-organised and much attended event; which brings me to the things I learnt from #ICE 2022 and hope that Africa, especially Nigeria will incorporate into the very DNA of its gaming industry to ensure sustainability.
The global gaming industry collectively (operators, service providers, regulators, advisers) has become passionate and intentional about promoting and ensuring safer/responsible gambling; irrespective of competition for market share and customers.
Ensuring that players engage in positive play that minimises gambling harm is not just the player’s responsibility but everyone’s.
The likelihood of fines & penalties has played a big role in propelling most of the companies to toe the line of ensuring safer gambling and now it seems to have been embedded in the very fabrics of their gaming operations, as every major organisation now has people whose primary role is to ensure responsible gambling from their customers.
In order to truly fight the menace of underage gambling, there is the need for organizations to comply with AML & KYC requirements.
The application and incorporation of Economic Social & Governance (ESG) factors, within the gaming Industry has become a key focus. It has now become vital to realise that it is not just about technology or generating profits but rather identifying and improving the social and environmental impact on society. ESG factors is now seen as a balance between how a company operates and its direct impact on suppliers, customers and society at large.
That women has become a powerhouse in the global gaming industry and their role and significance in the development of the industry can no longer be ignored nor over emphasised. It is time to skin the game and have more diversity and inclusion in the make-up of the gambling industry for the growth and sustenance of the entire industry.
There is need for more collaborations among global regulators of the gaming industry, to better protect the public, minimise gambling harm and hold non-compliant operators liable, given the increased partnerships, mergers, joint ventures etc. of multi nationals from different jurisdictions.
Crypo-currency and NFTs are being adjudged as gambling (even though it is not defined as one) and thus its regulation and the form it will take will need to be looked into and decided by global gaming authorities as it is a lucrative growth area.
It is gratifying and inspiring to see that the global gaming industry is investing in proactive safer gambling solution through research, data analysis and detection. Hopefully Nigeria and Africa as a whole, will soon be on the same wave length with the rest of world in ensuring that the negative impact of gambling is minimized, while increasing its positive social & environmental effects in safer/responsible gambling.
There is also need for more collaborations between the operators, the providers and the regulators with emphasis on promotion of responsible gambling in our African gaming environment, because it is only by working together can real change be made.