Industry heavyweights pack ICE 2004
By michael
Industry professionals preparing to attend ICE 2004 (Earls Court 2, London, UK, 27–29 January) will be treated to a wider display of products than ever before, if the latest plans being drawn up by exhibitors are anything to go by.

Apart from the relocation of the show, which has resulted in 33 per cent more floor space being made available, one of the most noticeable features of this January’s event will be the increased number of larger stands able to host a wider array of products and services than has previously been possible in the 10-year history of ICE.

No fewer than 25 of the 130+ confirmed exhibitors have booked stands of 100 square metres (1,076sq.ft.) or more, with 10 companies showcasing their latest lines on stands in excess of 200sqm. (2,152sq.ft.). The top 25 exhibitors, whose combined presence will account for over 60 per cent of the ICE show floor, comprise some of the industry’s leading suppliers of casino equipment from 11 countries renowned for their expertise in producing the most successful casino products.

Visitors to ICE 2003 couldn’t have failed to notice the presence of Novomatic–Austrian Gaming Industries (AGI), which, by far the largest stand at 957sqm. (10,300sq.ft.), was described by some industry observers as ‘an exhibition within itself’. The Austrian company, not content with simply maintaining top slot in the floor space stakes, has decided to expand by a further 15 per cent by taking a mammoth 1,104sqm. (11,880sq.ft.) stand at ICE 2004. AGI Managing Director, Jens Halle explained: “The ICE show is the most important exhibition for us – that’s why we are committed to making exceptional efforts to satisfy our customers with our products and services. Our broad range of Multi-Player Systems in particular needs substantial space to be presented appropriately. We want to create an authentic casino atmosphere on our stand, which requires extensive and sophisticated interior design. The overwhelming acceptance shown by our customers at ICE 2003 proves that we are on the right path.”

IGT-Europe, the world’s biggest producer of slot machines, has given a massive boost to its ICE presence, occupying some 720sqm. (7,750sq.ft.) of floor space in January; no less than a 339 per cent increase on the company’s ICE 2003 stand of 164sqm. (1,765sq.ft). Kurt Quartier, Managing Director of IGT-Europe, maintains that the expansion reflects the growth in IGT's product lines: “Two years ago, we brought 65 machines to show and in 2003 our space limited us to 85 machines. Now that ICE has moved into Earls Court 2, we plan to take advantage of the opportunity to grow in line with the growth of our market share in European markets,” said Quartier. “In January 2004, we'll exhibit between 170 and 180 machines in London. We'll finally be able to show Europe our complete product line. The additional floor space will also allow us the flexibility to demonstrate our systems products, such as EZPay.” He concluded: “At IGT-Europe, we don't underestimate the impact that ICE has on European gaming. Operators look to the London Show to help them develop strategies for the coming year and we plan to be there in full force to provide them with the very best the industry has to offer.”

Weighing in at 480sqm. (5,165sq.ft), the third largest stand at ICE 2004 will be the home of TCS John Huxley, following the year’s most high-profile coming together of two industry giants, TCS Group and John Huxley Casino Equipment announced at ICE 2003. David Heap, Executive Vice-President commented, “ICE is always an important event, but this year even more so, as it will be the first chance for many of our customers to see our combined product portfolios, the new team and the launch of some very exciting new products which are set to revolutionise gaming floors worldwide.” The extra space will also allow for both companies’ legendary ‘hospitality’, where customers will have the chance to relax and meet the TCS John Huxley team. In addition, there will be an entire area devoted to a new feature: The Dealer Championships. The heats for this competition will be underway shortly in casinos throughout the UK, with the last 20 finalists battling it out for the title on the stand during the three days of the show.

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