Ramona Depares relives the top moments from IGB Live in Amsterdam, as the iGaming world gets ready for SiGMA Malta in November.
Last week’s IGB Live in Amsterdam once again proved that there is nothing quite like the iGaming industry for those who want to feel part of a like-minded community, or a second family.
Clarion’s three-day summit (I choose to count Tuesday, too) was packed with excellent speakers and events, and a buzzing main floor that at times was more akin to a high-end club than a plain conference.
There were take aways and highlights aplenty, moments that undoubtedly will be enjoyed again in a month’s time during SiGMA Malta in November. Meantime, these are our top 10 takeaways from IGB Live Amsterdam.
Our top 10 highlights from IGB Live Amsterdam
1. The best deals are sealed away from the expo floor
F&*@k the new normal, because we still like a good party – and how. Nothing beats live. We’ve said this once, twice and it’s kinda our mantra now. Watching the sheer joy on people’s faces at IGB Live Amsterdam, everyone in animated conversation, was priceless.
IGB Live Amsterdam showed us that yes, finally we are back to the old normal. The sheer mental relief we all felt was a natural high and, judging by the general mood, more deals were struck and new relationships forged in those three days than throughout the entire COVID-19 year.
2. The industry has matured considerably.
iGaming is no longer the new kid on the block on the constellation of industries, it is very much up there with the big ones. It felt good to see this maturity in action at IGB Live Amsterdam. The veterans who started the industry tackled deep issues that kept everyone thinking and discussing – a conversation that, given the stellar speakers on the lineup, will continue and expand at SiGMA Malta November.
3. Female presence at the top is steadily increasing.
And this new maturity has also resulted in a more egalitarian landscape. While there is still work to be done on the gender equality front, it was amazing to see the number of C-Level females present at the conference.
The vibe at the Women in Gaming events held jointly by SiGMA and IGB Live Amsterdam revealed strength in female numbers. But it’s not only a matter of numbers, it’s about the dynamic exchange of ideas among those present. The event was attended by Noami Barton, Portfolio Director, iGB Affiliate at Clarion Events and SiGMA’s own COO Sophie Crouzet.
4. There is space for everyone – from the big names to newest start-ups
The industry has grown exponentially, and at a certain point the question begs itself: with so many operators, affiliates, game providers and all the ancillary supporting industries that crop up pretty much every week, are we reaching over-saturation?
iGB Live Amsterdam clearly showed us that we are not. There is space for everyone, as long as they are good, and the growth curve looks set to continue. Not even 2020 stopped it, after all.
5. We are a creative bunch.
There was no brand at IGB Live Amsterdam that didn’t pull out all the stops, each stand vying to come out on top. Was there a king or queen? No, because honestly, the vibe was so amazing among all exhibitors that what really shone was the collaborative effort. Though, shoutout to Entain for their gorgeous VIP area and to 20Bet for their truly chill lounge bar.
6. iGaming is one of the biggest drivers of the economy.
And nothing beats a massive conference like IGB Live Amsterdam or SiGMA Malta to oil the wheels of commerce. Amsterdam was buzzing, and there was barely an empty restaurant, coffee shop or bar to be seen. Not to mention the fully -booked hotels and cabs.
Expect more of the same at SiGMA Malta in November, so hope you got a headstart on your reservations.
7. Job creation within the sector is at an all-time high.
New roles open up across all levels, and the industry remains extremely welcome even to noons who want to climb up the ladder. On-job training is encouraged and specialisation is real.
This year’s Boston Link survey showed a very definite surge in numbers, and speaking with some of the recruiters present at IGB Live Amsterdam, it is clear that there is always room for good people who are passionate about the business.
8. Good governance is highly valued.
Rather than hampering it, regulatory requirements appear to have actually given the iGaming industry more structure. Gone are the days when a few cowboys risked placing the industry under a black cloud. The IBGLive Amsterdam agenda revealed exactly how seriously all the players – from operators to affiliates to other service providers – take the issue of regulation. Put simply, there is no room for error and those who don’t want to play ball are not welcome in the fold.
Given the hard work and investment to bolster the industry to what it is today, this is quite the sensible approach.
9. As are social issues, like responsible gaming.
Equally refreshing is the focus on responsible gaming, with more participants making it a point to go beyond the call of duty. During the expo I had a very interesting chat with Casino Guru’s Šimon Vincze, who confirmed that a new and fresh approach is needed to offer counselling support to gamblers facing problems, and to ensure that they didn’t find a way to circumvent their decision to self-exclude in a moment of weakness. He lauded the number of operators and affiliates who were taking steps to strengthen player protection.
10. Amsterdam is gorgeous & the Dutch pretty amazing.
I fell in love with the city during my time there and realised that there’s a lot more beauty to Amsterdam than the obvious tourist angle The Dutch also showed us that yes, we can control COVID-19 as long as we are well-organised. There were no masks in sight, but controls were exercised with respect to vaccination and hygiene.
Get ready for an equally fantastic experience at SiGMA Malta in November, and my suggestion is to extend your stay by a couple of days if you can. We will take good care of you!
See you at SiGMA Malta in November. Save the dates for Malta Week:
For the first time ever SiGMA Group is bringing its 4 leading shows together for the mother of all conferences. From the 15th to 19th November, SiGMA, alongside AGS and AIBC will bring the best in the business to a first-class meeting point at the Malta Fairs and Convention Centre (MFCC). Malta Week is a chance for investors to leverage the significant crossover potential for multi-faceted business deals and to double down on opportunities to connect with some of the leading affiliates, policymakers, thought leaders, suppliers, and operators in the industry. Register now!