Saturday, February 10, 2007

London’s Annual iGaming Networking Week a Marathon of Parties!

One thing ya gotta love about the igaming industry is we know how to party! Sure, conferences like ICEi and CAP Euro offer seminars and lots of formal opportunities to soak up news and information. But let’s face it – the real business is done at all the cool networking parties that are such an important part of the annual week of online gaming events in London.

Yes, everyone in London was talking about the impact of UIGEA, but it seemed to me the consensus among the thousands of casino and poker operators, affiliates and gambling media that gathered in London was that sure, lots have taken a hit losing their American business – but at the end of the day there are other expanding and lucrative markets to focus their attention on. America? Who cares – Europe is hot!

Lyceum Fire & Ice was, as usual, the biggest and best party of the week, held just as ICEi was wrapping up and the CAP Euro crowd were arriving in town. Lyceum got a huge venue this year – a posh new Picadilly night club -- to accommodate the 1500 partiers. Thanks to Cryptologic and NextGen Gaming who kept the open bars open. (See for photos.)

The next day I had the pleasure of escorting Tila Tequila, the Queen of MySpace, to promotional press appearances around London, including the huge launch party for Tila and her Tila Girls were raunchy and sexy and in extreme performance mode -- the air was thick with hormones at this posh Mayfair bash. invited all CAP Euro delegates, so it was one of the first of many rowdy affiliate gatherings. (See for photos.)

Another event I really enjoyed was Bodog’s party at the CafĂ© De Paris. The place reeked with history -- Prince Charles, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly, Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, Christian Slater have all partied there. But the slick Bodog crew turned it into a high energy mingler by filling the ornate celebrity hot spot with sexy videos and thumpa thumpa music. The room had to be cleared at ten for another private party so everyone spilled out onto the busy London streets and wound up at various Picadilly Circus venues.

I only spoke to one guy that had started the week with the mobile gambling summit -- John Lancelet from Slotland was one of the first to test the mobile gambling waters and John, who sees mobile phone users as the biggest new market for online gambling to target, suggested more of the online gambling crowd should come a few days earlier next January if they don’t want to miss out.

3GSM in Barcelona this month is the next big event on John’s calendar. It’s a huge gathering of mobile operators, vendors and content owners from across the world where I’m sure mobile gambling will have a strong presence. But it couldn’t possibly be the crazy marathon of parties that happens every January when the online gambling world converges on London!

Based in Vancouver, Canada, Larry Colcy is an account manager with London’s igaming PR and events specialists Lyceum Media.