BettingUSA takes a look back at the first day of the ICE North America virtual conference.  

Coronavirus has shutdown public gatherings big and small, and if you’ve ever attended a gaming conference, you know they’re tightly packed with people from all parts of the globe. Suffice it to say, conferences are going to be one of the last things that will return to normal.

Fortunately, the education sessions from gaming conferences are easily transferred online. After having to cancel its New Orleans meetup, ICE North America is the latest conference to jump into the virtual realm.

Day 1 of ICE North America 2020

ICE NA 2020 kicked off with a keynote address from Simon Holliday of H2 Gambling Capital titled, Financial Impact of COVID 19 on the Global Gaming Industry.

That was followed by two separate panel discussions titled, The Next 12 Months in iGaming and Taking Lotteries Online & The Imperative of Omni-Channel.

Here’s a look at the highlights from these sessions.

Holliday’s Keynote: Don’t Be Fooled by the Early Numbers

Simon Holliday kicked off the conference with a keynote address on the state of, and what the future holds for the gambling industry.

Holliday noted that revenue from and usage of online casino and poker sites have seen a significant uptick since the shutdowns.

However, he also cautioned that the sector was likely to see a reduction in revenue over the course of 2020, largely from the loss of sports.  

Holliday also discussed what casinos might expect when they reopen, and once again, his comments were filled with warnings.

According to Holliday, H2 expects a surge caused by pent-up demand when restrictions are loosened. Still, ongoing concerns, as well as travel restrictions, will likely keep visitation low for the foreseeable future.

Will COVID Lead to a Legislative Run on the Bank?

One of the big takeaways of the day was the belief that the closure of land-based casinos in the US will give legislators a gentle nudge when it comes to legalizing online gambling.

That will be an intriguing story to follow, and on the surface, it makes all the sense in the world.

States will be looking for new ways to generate revenue, but gambling is often controversial, and the revenue generated online is little more than a band-aid for the budget shortfalls states will be facing. As simple as it seems, legislators might prioritize bigger ticket items over online gambling.

Modernizing the Lottery

The final session of the day focused on US lotteries. The main themes were how the state shutdowns have impacted sales and what can be done to help the lottery modernize its offerings.

The widespread belief is traditional lottery products are facing similar issues to slot machines, an aging demographic. That has spurred a lot of the online legalization talk.

One panelist didn’t see it that way. According to Gordon Medenica, Director of the Maryland Lottery, data he was a part of collecting when he worked in New York indicates there were a lot of younger players. The problem, according to Medenica, was using a land-line telephone to conduct surveys. Once the state started collecting data through the internet, the lottery discovered it had a lot of younger players.

Medinica is clearly in the minority, but it’s a compelling argument that needs to be better explored.

Scroll to Top