What was Hot at ICE London 2024?

Joe Ewens & Harrison Sayers


February 13, 2024

February marked the last time, for now at least, that the global industry descended on London’s ExCel centre for the ICE trade show and its many satellite meetings, conventions, sales pitches and networking events. In this blog, we bring you the highlights of what we saw and heard, as well as our takeaways on the main talking points from the conference.

All About Brazil

There is little question that Brazil was the star jurisdiction at the event, with the country’s likely future head regulator José Francisco Manssur making an appearance to announce that the country will open its first licensing window from March until June. Over 134 companies have registered their interest in applying for a licence, but there are still several key questions to be answered by secondary legislation, particularly around what online casino games will be permitted and how Brazilian ownership rules apply.

Vixio’s stand was even home to a Brazil themed ‘Power Hour’ on two of the days, serving Caipirinha cocktails and sparkling conversation - as well as an exclusive free Brazil Outlook report download. Attendees visiting us during this hour had immediate access to our experts, who were ready to discuss the latest regulatory developments in Brazil’s online gambling legislations - which, as noted above, was a hot topic on everyone’s lips. 

Above: Vixio's Power Hour during the event served up cocktails and conversation
Curiosity Around Curacao: Europe in the Spotlight

The ICE show floor was also dotted with booths offering aid in applying for a Curacao licence. The island nation awarded its first new style licence this month, under a transitional regime in place until the new gambling bill is passed. Meanwhile upstart jurisdictions like East Timor and Ceuta were pitching those companies who would rather flee Caribbean reforms.

While the diversity of global gambling markets and their regulatory uniqueness were on full display at ICE, it was notable that the UK could not provide much in the way of fireworks. In what will probably be a relief to the industry, there were no bold announcements or predictions of turmoil, as in past years. Instead, fatigued industry reps and reformer campaigners alike just seemed like they want to get the white paper saga over with. But while some of its changes are likely before the Summer, issues around financial risk checks look set to drag on for a long time yet. The Gambling Commission confirmed a pilot scheme is imminent, but admitted it may yet have to launch fresh consultations once the findings of the trial are known.

Other major developments in Western Europe that were hot topics of discussion included plans for a licensing regime in Finland, France exploring the possibility of regulating online casinos and Germany’s strict interpretation of statutes impacting the market. 

In talks and discussions on Eastern and Central Europe, Romania’s tightening restrictions and an upcoming election are a major industry concern. Ukraine continues to deal with security concerns deterring investors and its industry is calling for a modernisation of its gambling tax laws to help make the market more attractive. Also, Hungary’s regulator is showing no desire to ease up on enforcement action having recently begun adding affiliates to its blocklists.

ICE London is the biggest gambling conference in the world, and industry’s most influential networking, business, and educational event.
Tech's Time to Shine

One new product that headlined almost every game developer stand was crash games. These simple games originated from crypto gambling sites but their popularity has made them a hit with operators. We could see more gambling regulators addressing this product soon, with Portugal’s regulator publishing instructions for operators offering the game last year. 

Developments in AI remain a key technological talking point across the industry supply chain. An International Casino Conference panel on cyber security was particularly alarming, with the speakers warning of the massive threat AI tools in the hands of hackers pose to all stakeholders. However, the speakers were also optimistic that those same tools will, in a few years, be used by the industry to greatly improve security systems. 

Talks at the iGB Affiliate event were also dominated by developments in AI and how they can be leveraged by content creators and marketers. In particular, many affiliates are concerned about impacts to their SEO ratings if they use AI tools to create marketing content. 

All in all, our on-the-ground Vixio team had an extremely successful ICE, with much interest in the interactive touch-screen displayed on our stand, that attendees could explore the platform on at their leisure (or receive the guided tour), and a constant stream of in-person meetings at the stand. 

Above: The Vixio team on the stand at ICE London 2024
Couldn’t make it this year?

Download your copy of the Brazil Online Outlook report, or get in touch to speak to a member of the team who can talk you through how Vixio can help turn compliance into a competitive advantage for your business. 

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