Spain Rides a Wave of Excitement as Barcelona ICE moving to Barcelona from 2025

 Unveiling Reactions: key players and Leading Associations across Spain respond to Barcelona's new ICE hosting role

The shift of the ICE and iGB Affiliate events from London to Barcelona has been received as great news for the gaming industry in Spain. The entire sector in the country is united in highlighting support for this change, which is set to represent a leap in quality for the local industry.  We gather statements from relevant organizations in the sector such as ANESAR, FEMARA, CEJUEGO, JDigital and The European Casino Association (ECA) and we retrieve the responses from Alex Pratt to our exclusive interview.

The decision to choose Barcelona as the replacement for London as the host of ICE and iGB Affiliate has been met with widespread support from Spain, and there is complete confidence that it will mark a significant milestone for the gaming industry in Spain as well.

This choice signifies international recognition of Spain's thriving gaming industry and affirms Barcelona's status as a vibrant, cosmopolitan city that can host large-scale international events.

In addition to the initial statements from Alex Pratt and the feedback from the European Casino Association (ECA), we display how the spanish associations FEMARA, ANESAR, CEJUEGO, CEJ, and JDIGITAL have received the news.

INTERVIEW with Alex Pratt, Managing Director of Clarion Gaming Group

In a revealing conversation, we at recently had the privilege of interviewing Alex Pratt, Group Managing Director, Clarion Gaming about the significant announcement: the transfer of the ICE event from London to Barcelona. This bold move represents a strategic shift for the company and has been making waves in the industry. The Director shared insights about this decision and its implications, offering a unique perspective on the evolution of the Nº1 gaming event landscape.

InfoPlay: What is the reason for leaving the city of London?

Everything we do is customer-led and dating back to 2021 we were requested by a number of exhibitors as well as b2b media to look at what alternative venues could offer. We are very conscious of our responsibility to the industry and of the need to look beyond the ‘here and now’.  Both events have grown exponentially and we would not have upheld our duty to the industry if we failed to plan for the future.
InfoPlay: Do you think that Barcelona has a greater capacity to attract visitors?
It was notable for its outstanding exhibition and conference facilities, the ability to scale, its hospitality infrastructure, ease of logistics, engagement from the city, and the ability to deliver ROI for our customers. ICE and IGB Affiliate will be the only major events taking place in Barcelona over the dateline enabling us to create an exclusive venue and city experience for exhibitors and attendees alike. Barcelona is the host city that our customers believe is best equipped to be our strategic partner for the future.

After twelve years of holding ICE in London, what lessons have you learned from this experience?

ICE has actually been in London for over 80 years with 12 years at Excel so it has an extremely long history in the city, in fact there were two years it didn’t run in London, once during Covid and once it relocated to Birmingham because of a fire at Alexandra Palace, the venue it was in at the time. For me the biggest lesson is that we need to constantly listen and react to what our customers are saying, whether these are small changes to the event or bigger things like adding in new segments or moving the entire show.

This sounds very simple, but I often see decisions being made without the customer in mind which means your product becomes disconnected from its primary audience and the industry itself.
InfoPlay: How has it been received by the Catalan and Spanish government authorities?
The bid team was made up of the venue, the city and the region so as you can imagine they are all really excited to welcome ICE to the city. This genuinely gives us an opportunity to not only scale and grow ICE but also embed it as part of the city itself providing a much better experience for our customers but also build out a long lasting legacy within the region.

European Casino Association "is pleased" Clarion Gaming's Commitment to Continue the ICE Show in Barcelona from 2025

ECA Chair, Erwin van Lambaart, stated, "We are pleased by Clarion Gaming's bold decision to continue the ICE show at a new location starting from 2025. This move aligns well with our longstanding partnership with Clarion Gaming, which we highly value and believe will further enhance the interests of the European casino industry. Additionally, the ECA looks forward to continued cooperation with Clarion Gaming to assist in developing ICE further, making it even more attractive, innovative, and impactful for all stakeholders involved."

The ECA extends its heartfelt gratitude to this vibrant city for cultivating a tradition that has nurtured the ICE for numerous years. While we are excited about what the future holds for ICE, we are sure that visitors will forever cherish the memories and milestones achieved in London.

In closing, the ECA would like to congratulate Clarion Gaming for their commitment to continue the ICE and iGB Affiliate success stories with their partners and for their ambition to deliver an amazing experience during the last London ICE in 2024.

The Spanish Association of Entrepreneurs of Game and Recreational Halls (ANESAR):  "Choosing Spain is very good news"

José Vall, recently re-elected president of ANESAR, wanted to express to our readers the enormous satisfaction of receiving ICE in Spain from the year 2025. The president views positively that Barcelona has been the fortunate city and invites all regulators to take advantage of the great opportunity that opens up to deeply understand the sector.

"Choosing Spain to host ICE is very good news. In Spain, we have a great industry in the gaming sector, with all the leisure advantages and a great tourist tradition so that an event of these characteristics can be held with total guarantee of success"

Pepe Vall claims the great opportunity:

"From ANESAR, we hope that an event of this nature also helps to see the gaming industry as a professional and responsible sector that is fully incorporated into society and is a great engine of employment, innovation, wealth generation and tax contribution to the public coffers".

"We believe that it is a great opportunity for regulators, both at the national and regional level, to firsthand understand the development of the sector and what the gaming industry means in terms of R&D, cutting-edge technology, employment, economic development, etc."

FEMARA regarding the arrival of ICE to BARCELONA: "It demonstrates the potential that our sector has, also in the international arena. Visitors will not remain indifferent to this beautiful and great city"

The President of FEMARA, Manuel Fernández Berciano, has sent us the following statements where, in addition to congratulating the organization, he is pleased with the potential that our sector demonstrates:

"It is great news that the most important Fair in the gaming sector worldwide, ICE, is moving to Spain, specifically to the city of Barcelona.

This demonstrates the potential that our sector has, also in the international arena, and the unbeatable conditions that the city of Barcelona offers, both for the celebration of the event and to welcome its visitors, who will not remain indifferent to this beautiful and great city".

And he points out the great moment to claim our industry:

"It is another wonderful opportunity to introduce our sector as just another business activity that takes place in our country, where leisure has a significant specific weight.

We hope that this first five-year period will turn into many more in the future. Congratulations to the organization!”

The Business Council of the Private Gaming Sector in Spain, CEJUEGO: "It's a global showcase for our sector"

Alejandro Landaluce, General Director of CEJUEGO joins in the congratulations for ICE's arrival in Barcelona.

"The international fair ICE is one of the three most important worldwide within the gaming sector. It was known as 'the London fair' and from 2025 it will be 'the Barcelona fair'; I think that says it all: number of visitors, income and visibility for the city and a global showcase for our sector. Without a doubt, it's great news."

CEJ (Spanish Confederation of Bingo Business Organizations): "It provides the perfect framework from which to convey our future vision of the sector"

At the Spanish associative level, CEJ wanted also to offer their evaluations immediately. This is what its general director, Fernando Henar, (Confederación Española de Organizaciones de Empresarios del Juego del Bingo) comments:

"Without a doubt, it's very good news, the prestige of this Fair in the environment of a gaming market like the Spanish one, and in a city like Barcelona, is a tandem that, in my opinion, can surpass the historical organization of London, in addition to its economic contribution and the tourist window it provides.

For our associations, it provides the perfect framework from which to convey our future vision of the sector"

Spain's Digital Gaming Association JDIGITAL: "An international endorsement of the sector's good work in Spain"

"We are very pleased that ICE has chosen Barcelona, and Spain, to host this prestigious congress from 2025. Clearly, it's an international endorsement of the sector's good work in Spain and represents a very good opportunity to put Spanish gaming at the center of the global conversation about the industry.

At Jdigital, we always say, and we are convinced of it, that Spain has the best actors in the sector: operators, suppliers, associations, etc. This gives the Spanish gaming ecosystem a notable prestige at the international level, despite being subject to a very restrictive regulation that does not always seem to value the commitment and good practices of the sector

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