Because of the pandemic, many gaming industry events were held remotely last year. But in 2021 there have been more in-person gatherings, with most of them adhering to health-related protocols to ensure the safety of participants.
Dennis Algren, marketing director for London, U.K.-based SBC Events, says the hunger for in-person gatherings has been palpable.
“It’s still important in this industry to meet, it’s important to get together,” Algren says. “Not only to facilitate business, but also to understand the opportunities that are arising.”
SBC Events recently announced its 2022 conference and exhibition calendar, which includes SBC Summit North America, July 12-14, at Meadowlands Exposition Center in New Jersey. The company also is hosting the 2021 version of SBC Summit North America, Nov. 30-Dec. 2, at the same New Jersey venue.
Because of the pandemic, SBC has hosted 24 digital events since April 2020. While such events were important to keep the gaming industry engaged, they failed to replicate the immediacy of live gatherings.
“If there’s anything that SBC has been good at over the years, it has been that the speakers and content we bring to our events has always been hailed as industry leading,” Algren says. “There’s nobody else that focuses this much on the quality of the content.
“And the importance of the speakers is, what can they bring to you as a visitor? How does that help you?”
At the SBC Summit North America next month, speakers include Bill Miller, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association; Bally’s Interactive Chairman of the Board of Directors Soo Kim; Entain SVP Martin Lycka; and Jan Jones Blackhurst, a member of Caesars Entertainment board of directors.
While visitors can pick and choose what speakers they want to hear, it’s just as important to be able to wander through an exhibition floor. Algren feels that operators and affiliate both can benefit from just being on the ground at such events.
“What are the innovations people are bringing to the table?” he says. “Because oftentimes what you end up finding is a product you didn’t know you needed. And I think that’s exactly what the exhibitions can do. They help facilitate those initial conversations; they help bring everybody together.”
Algren noted that the forthcoming SBC event in New Jersey was formerly called Betting on Sport America. But the emergence of igaming in U.S markets has caused a realignment in content that reflects the new online gaming paradigm.
“I think that will be really important for this one (starting November 30), but also for next year’s U.S. event,” Algren says. “That’s what we bring to the table.”
Also, because the European online sports betting and igaming markets are more established, there will be representatives from those gaming operators at both U.S. events.
“Everybody wants to build something in the US in this industry,” Algren says. “We can learn from the European industry. It’s just so much more mature, in both legislation but also in innovation and methods, especially around online.”