Clarion Gaming has announced a short list of cities as potential future sites for the ICE gambling conference from 2025, a step which could lead to it being moved from its London home after decades in residence.
Barcelona, Madrid, Paris and London all meet the “exacting criteria” the conference requires, Clarion said in a statement.
The possible move of what Clarion claims are the world’s largest B2B gambling conference is linked to prodding from continental European exhibitors who cite complications from Brexit.
The UK’s exit from the EU has added to red tape for international conferences that include customs duty and requirements, visas and trucking costs.
Last year, top exhibitors such as Novomatic and Gauselmann did not have their large stands at ICE, citing COVID-19 concerns and an Easter-week date due to COVID postponements, as well as Brexit. They return this year.
The announcement of a potential move from London came one day after the three-year anniversary of the exit of the UK from the European Union.
The UK formally left the EU on January 31, 2020, and a transitional period ended on December 31, 2020.
Criteria to host ICE include venue capacity, facilities, ability to accommodate future growth, availability of dates, long-distance transportation connections, the hospitality structure and accommodation costs, said group managing director Alex Pratt.
“This robust process is customer-centric and the decision will be taken in the best interests of our stakeholders and of the global gaming industry,” he said.
Included in the decision process is the sister conference, iGB Affiliate London, he said.
The four cities will be invited to make presentations, with the selection to be named in the third quarter of this year, Clarion said.
The decision will cover 2025 to 2029.
Clarion has said it expects 35,000 attendees from 155 countries at this year’s show.
ICE has roots in UK trade shows for the gambling and amusement industries dating to 1936.
Before the ExCeL Centre in east London, it was in Earls Court Exhibition Centre in Kensington.
The company said it will make no further comment on the issue until the announcement of a decision.