(PRESS RELEASE) -- European iGaming Congress & Expo (EiG) 2012 lived up to its reputation for being a hotbed of networking, learning and engagement for the iGaming elite, as many of the industry’s pre-eminent thought leaders gathered at the event’s spiritual home in Barcelona (16th - 18th October). True to its pledge to "Unravel European iGaming," EiG comprised a three-day program of conferences, featuring no fewer than 108 speakers who shared their insight and expertise with delegates representing 55 countries, including a sizable contingent from the United States. The speaker lineup included such visionaries as Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity.com, and Gigi Levy, a well-known industry figure and investor, who both gave inspirational and insightful keynotes and set the scene for intensive and strategic discussions held at EiG.
Alongside the Conference program, EiG featured a record 69 iGaming exhibitors whose presence confirmed the event’s growing reputation as a place not just to network and engage with peers, but also to conduct business. Initial analysis of delegate numbers at EiG 2012 indicates a 12.2% increase in attendees across the three days of the event.
One of the many conversations taking place in the aisles and debates in the theatre halls was the coming together of social gaming and iGaming, in particular the debate on where business, players and games converge. One of the EiG speakers, Hussein Chahine, CEO, Yazino, said: “Social gaming is the single most important opportunity and possibly the only threat to the iGaming industry. EiG has [helped] to demystify this phenomenon and explore how the two sectors either converge or compete.”
On the show floor one of the most tangible trends was the entry of land-based manufacturers into the online space with influential organizations including Bally, Barcrest, IGT and Shuffle Master taking stand space at EiG. Lou Castle, Chief Strategy Officer at Shuffle Master, underlined the importance of EiG in helping the company achieve its strategic objectives, adding that it intended to be back in 2013 with an even stronger presence.
Since 2008, EiG has provided a platform for new iGaming businesses, courtesy of its LaunchPad Awards and Start-Up Zone on the expo floor. The LaunchPad format saw a panel comprising Edward Pfeiffenberger (MD, Venatus Interactive), Phil Cronin (CEO, Tombola), Mark Blandford (Partner, Burlywood Capital), Evan Hoff (Partner, Velo Partners) and Melissa Blau (CEO, iGaming Capital) scrutinize the products, potential and revenue models before the winner, Living Sports, was judged by the audience using Spot ID voting technology. The winning company combines sports with casino by generating real-time odds on outcomes, then placing them in a casino-style interface and providing a second screen experience. Living Sports topped the short list of five companies which included LocusPlay, Colossus Bets, Goplay and Sofun Gaming.
Dave Tharp, Founder and Managing Director of Living Sports, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have competed against some very good business ideas and ultimately to win LaunchPad 2012. The process itself has been very rewarding and we look forward to building on our early successes and making long-term relationships with the people we’ve met at EiG.”
Melissa Blau, CEO, iGaming Capital, who has helped judge the LaunchPads at both GiGse (USA) and EiG, was delighted at both the quantity and the quality of entrants the judges had received. She confirmed: “We’ve had more entrants than ever before and the quality has been even higher than in the past. I think the increasingly close relationship with social gaming may have something to do with that and it was interesting to see that the winners came from a non-gaming, aerospace background, which shows the appeal of our sector of the digital entertainment industry.” She added: “This is an extremely worthwhile initiative and one that Clarion should be congratulated on for introducing and supporting. I believe it reflects positively on the industry and its reputation for being a sector underpinned by innovation and driven by inspirational business people.”
Reflecting on EiG 2012, Ewa Bakun, Head of Content, Clarion Events Ltd, said: “EiG has confirmed its growing reputation as one of iGaming’s most influential events of the year, evidenced by its ability to attract such an influential C-Level audience. In fact no other major event attracts such a concentration of decision makers as EiG. The team at Clarion has worked hard to ensure that EiG remains totally relevant, focused, intimate and new. The topics that have been forensically analyzed by industry experts and debated robustly by delegates are the ones that really impact the industry. Of our 108 speakers 60 were new to EiG and over 40% of exhibitors were showing at EiG for the first time. We also tweaked the orthodox conference format in order to deliver meeting-style sessions and provide greater access to our panels of expert speakers. We operate in a dynamic sector in which the brightest and most creative new companies can soon establish themselves, which is why the EiG LaunchPad is such an important component of the event. I am delighted that we received a record number of entries and that the winner, Living Sports, was so deserving of the honour. Finally I would like to thank all of our sponsors, in particular our lead sponsor, Playtech, for helping to make EiG such a successful and trusted brand in the iGaming space.”
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