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Edward Obeng

Edward Obeng

Having graduated with a Broadcast Journalism degree, Edward has produced work with a number of local newspapers before joining Gambling Insider.
News | Press Releases
17th March
Presidential hopeful vows to cover Filipino casinos by AMLA
16th March
New Jersey citizens to vote on casino expansion
16th March
Bermuda launches Designated Sites application process
16th March
Cyprus reveals casino resort shortlist
15th March
Paddy Power Betfair partners with Worldpay
15th March
Tribal casino fast-tracked to August 2017
14th March
All change at Ladbrokes Australia: Jarvis in for Burnett at CMO
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Sportsbet calls for an end to betting ad blitz
9th March
TonyBet first operator to be granted Lithuanian gaming licence
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More unrest in Japanese sport as new betting scandal comes to light
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Florida legislature rejects $3m tribal deal
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Simon Trim appointed CEO of Sporting Index
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Alibaba looking to exploit loopholes, introducing poker to China
7th March
888 changing rewards programme, ditching rakeback
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ICC claims anti-corruption force is thwarting match-fixing plan
2nd March
No money for Taj Mahal if New Jersey casinos are approved
2nd March
IH to build $10bn casino on Rota
2nd March
888 appoints Frieberger as new CEO
1st March
Rank appoints Steven Esom as non-executive director
1st March
Hong Kong Jockey Club refuses to take bets on Chinese Super League
29th February
Paddy Power shares anti-money laundering failures
24th February
Groups oppose NFL’s cash prize DFS programme for kids
24th February
Atlantic City mayor labels state takeover plan a “fascist dictatorship”
24th February
Tennis leaders summoned before UK Parliament committee over match-fixing
23rd February
Bettson AB appoints Ulrik Bengtsson as CEO and president
23rd February
Intertain chief executive confirms he is set to stand down
23rd February
ICE attendance grows for another year, exceeding 28,000
22nd February
Ladbrokes' sponsorship of Cheltenham's World Hurdle ends
22nd February
R.Franco acquires Mediatech Solutions stake
17th February
Israel to discuss casinos
17th February
AFL introduces media betting rule
16th February
Dutch FA alleges match fixing
11th February
ESSA to tackle crime in sport
10th February
PokerStars removes heads-up cash games
9th February
Pennsylvania Committee supports removal of sports-betting ban
9th February
Keith Bristow to lead new anti-money laundering group
8th February
NeoGames strikes deal with Czech’s Sazka
8th February
Sportsbet fights for online in-play betting
3rd February
Racing Australia CEO wants in-play loophole changed
3rd February
GVC appoints new directors
3rd February
Paddy Power Betfair is out of the blocks
1st February
150 arrested in two Thai gambling den raids
1st February
Macau gambling revenue drops again
27th January
More big brands added to Lithuania’s gambling blacklist
27th January
Jowell acknowledges ineffectiveness in tackling FOBT dangers
27th January
Contractors may be on the hook for $200m if Wynn casino delays continue
26th January
US casino market to hit $93bn by 2020
26th January
Microgaming to launch new duel-release games in February
25th January
Kambi deal with LeoVegas to provide sports betting technology
25th January
Phil Ivey to launch white-label DFS site on iTEAM network



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IN-DEPTH 13 January 2020
My first ICE London

From extravagant boat parties to engaging industry conferences – and everything in between – here’s a look back to Tim Poole’s review of his first ICE London in 2019, which truly lived up to expectations. With ICE 2020 around the corner, more of the same would be very welcome…

Who needs sleep?

Evidently, no one at ICE London 2019. With a packed schedule keeping attendees busy from the break of dawn on Monday to the final hours of the London Affiliate Conference (LAC) on Friday night, there was little rest for the gaming sector in early February.

Yes, ICE (and LAC, held in the same venue) was everything I was told it would be, as the Excel London acquired all the industry’s available shares for five relentless days. For some of us, five even became six, as the setting up of stands was followed by Super Bowl parties on an uncharacteristically busy Sunday. For many of the Excel’s American guests, Sunday was reserved for those air miles.

This was my first ICE and I can confidently say it was the most enjoyable working week of my career to date. That’s despite some industry veterans expressing trepidation – and one quite deliberately declaring “I hate ICE” as loudly as he could when we walked into the Excel on Tuesday morning.

I was told by a regular ICE attendee in November: “If you do things right, ICE will involve staying up late, travelling far and wide for social events and having your diary jam-packed with meetings.” They weren’t wrong.

Socially, the ICE calendar offered visitors a number of daily options. My Tuesday evening led me to a boat party down the River Thames, courtesy of Wazdan (the magician was the ace in the pack), while my Wednesday evening took me to three separate events. Numerous party animals attended ICE, ICE Baby, before heading to Fire and ICE the next day, with affiliate events filling up people’s schedules on the Thursday and Friday.

But ICE was far from a non-stop rave. My days were just as fulfilling as my evenings, as a dynamic list of conferences captured the attention of myself and my colleagues – even if not every single event on the schedule lived up to its billing. At the Hive on Tuesday morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see five panellists sit down among the audience rather than monotonously talking down to listeners. That was my first indication ICE is about getting up close and personal.

The majority of us spend our time calling, emailing and Skyping people all over the world in our day-to-day lives. At ICE however, faces get added to names through first-time meetings with industry neighbours you’re already best pals with online. Others, even those based a few streets down from the Gambling Insider office, I was delighted to see for a second, third or fourth time.

There was no shortage of places in which to hold said meetings; the Racing Post Café and Bridge Restaurant being two good examples of neutral venues to meet, greet and eat. Naturally though, company stands were where most appointments were scheduled and I’d like to thank all those who visited the Gambling Insider stand throughout the course of the week. Every networking event is usually billed as the place to form new relationships and solidify existing ones; for ICE London 2019, this was no false claim.

As for the stands themselves, how long have you got? I could talk about them for days, such was the variety and eye-catching nature of those on show. From Novomatic and Scientific Games’ gigantic platforms to SBTech and Ganapati’s standout hubs, there was a little bit of something for everyone. It was clear which companies enjoyed a strong 2018 meanwhile, and the sheer size of their 2019 stands showed it.

Wednesday was definitely the busiest day of the week, as the first affiliates headed to LAC at one end of the arena and the bulk of ICE visitors arrived at the other end. It was undeniably exhausting, although the change of pace from the daily rat race was something to savour. Walking (with a speed dependent on whether my previous meeting had overrun) across the venue, I was meeting the CEO of a US operator one minute and a European lawyer the next. The gaming sector reaches far and wide.

Speaking of US CEOs, it was hard not to be impressed by Jason Robins’ composed manner as he presented DraftKings’ outlook for the future. It was also difficult to avoid the hot topics of blockchain, esports and responsible gaming – whatever your take on each.

As a journalist, it was incredibly rewarding to interview five-time World’s Strongest Man Mariusz Pudzianowski, representing Promatic, and Champions League winner John Arne Riise, with Betsson. ICE and LAC certainly came with their perks.

I can’t pretend the free food and drink weren’t part of those perks, especially as I managed to avoid paying for lunch all week. I do stress though, that ICE wasn’t all about the freebies.

To those who say they’ve seen it all before, I don’t doubt it. Once I’ve been to five or more renditions, I’ll happily review my stance. There may come a time when I find ICE repetitive – and the 14 hours of sleep I had on Friday night proved just how much it had taken out of me.

But, at the same time, I can always see there being something new enough and dynamic enough each year. It’s about whether you approach ICE with a glass that’s half empty or half full. For an eager debutant, what wasn’t to love? Although I appreciate the peace and calm now greeting me at my desk every morning, like Frodo from Lord of the Rings, my Shire isn’t quite the same after seeing the exciting world out there.

As the industry now rebounds from the busiest and perhaps most important week of its calendar year, offices around the world will be buzzing with optimism and post-ICE developments. Salespeople will pursue leads, CEOs will follow up M & A talks and developers will absorb the feedback their new products received when unleashed in front of the watching world.

I know just how much work I’ve had thanks to my travails at ICE, but I mean that only in a good way. Whether your glass is half-full like mine, or you’re reading this with nothing but cynicism and disbelief, I challenge you to recall your top five gaming industry moments from the past 12 months.

Take a minute. Now, once you’re done, try telling me at least one of them wasn’t at ICE.

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