NOVOMATIC, Zitro, and TCS John Huxley announced their decision to cancel their participation as exhibitors at this year’s ICE London, set to be held April 12-14 at ExCeL London. They have joined Merkur Gaming, the first company to confirm its withdrawal earlier this week.
In a press release Thursday, the Austrian gaming provider said it “has not taken this decision lightly.” NOVOMATIC cited “a multitude of adverse aspects, including the pandemic, logistical challenges and, last but not least, the unfavourable and unavoidable alternative date,” which see participating in the show as “no longer viable.”
“The situation remains difficult to assess, due to the pandemic creating conditions that continue to prevent safe travel as well as a safe stay and participation at this gaming show – circumstances that have ultimately led to several cancellations by leading show exhibitors and participants. NOVOMATIC considers the health of its employees as well as customers and partners a top priority and has therefore decided to take this unfortunate but measured and considered step,” the company further stated. “ICE is a key trade show for the entire gaming industry and NOVOMATIC hopes that the successful cooperation can be continued under more favourable conditions in 2023.”
Zitro also issued a press statement on Thursday, in the same line. “It has not been an easy decision to make, and we had been looking forward to our participation, but there are many reasons that have caused us to withdraw from the event, being the main ones, the worldwide concern over the Omicron variant, the inconvenience of the new show dates clashing with Easter break, and the expected low attendance particularly of customers from other continents,” the company stated.
“Zitro strongly believes in ICE London as the key international tradeshow for the European market and is enthusiastic about participating in the next edition of ICE’23, as we have always done over the last years. We are looking forward to reuniting in the right circumstances and to showcase our amazing products to casino operators from all over the world,” its statement concluded.
As for TCS John Huxley, it also said in a release Friday that the decision to pull out of the show “was not made easily.” “The company has been exhibiting at ICE since its inception over 30 years ago and sees the event as a major focal point in the gaming calendar. However, after consulting with key stakeholders it became apparent that due to the timing of the show, along with the ongoing COVID situation in Europe and around the globe, attendee volumes will be significantly reduced.”
The company argued the industry is already having to deal with unprecedented operational and logistical challenges caused by the pandemic, and the new dates would add further difficulties for exhibitors and customers having to travel during the Easter period, in addition to suffering the pressures caused by Covid travel protocols. “Finally, it would not be prudent towards the welfare and safety of the TCSJOHNHUXLEY team and customers to exhibit whilst Europe is still in the middle of the Omicron wave,” the firm added.
Tristan Sjöberg, TCSJOHNHUXLEY Executive Chairman stated: “We all want the show to go ahead, but it has to be at the right time and in the right conditions. The decision to pull out of ICE has been made reluctantly, but the health and wellbeing of our staff and customers has to be our main priority. Also the timing of holding a gaming show during Holy Week is unfortunate. As we emerge from this crisis, we all need to pull together to support each other and our industry, but we need to ensure our decisions are also based on the right market conditions.”
Clarion Gaming decided to postpone ICE London from its traditional February dates to April 12-14, due to concerns over the Omicron coronavirus variant spread. Earlier this week, Merkur also announced its decision to withdraw as an exhibitor from ICE London 2022 claiming that, for a number of reasons, the Gauselmann Group’s firm’s “substantial investment” in the event would be “unable to show a positive return.” Among these reasons, the company cited the start of the Easter holiday period, the Omicron variant health risks, and additional logistical difficulties that stem from the UK’s Brexit withdrawal, which it said would lead to a negative impact on the visitor numbers.
However, ICE London’s new dates found support from the owner of London Hippodrome Casino, Simon Thomas; European Casino Association Chairman Per Jaldung; ECA Secretary General Hermann Pamminger; and The Gambling Business Group.