GIGSE '05 Sets Records

21 June 2005

Nearly 1,400 people, 100 official companies and 47 different countries were represented at the 2005 Global Interactive Gaming Summit and Expo last week in Montreal.

The seventh annual event was the largest to date produced by River City Group (RCG is the publisher of Interactive Gaming News). GIGSE remains the largest and only trade show and conference designed specifically for the online and interactive gaming industry.

This year's event had a record number of attendees for both the conference and expo hall, with nearly 1,400 individuals registering for the event. Nearly 100 companies had official representation at the event, either as exhibitors or sponsors, and countless others were represented through attendees, which came from 47 different countries, making GIGSE a truly global event.

Highlights from the 2005 event included conference tracks and discussions on poker, payment transactions, legal developments in the UK and Europe, the WTO ruling, investment issues, and a wide range of other topics facing the industry.

The expo hall at the Palais des Congres in Montreal also saw a record number of companies in booths as new areas had to be made to keep up with demand for booth space.

For the second-straight year GIGSE was capped off with a charity event. This year industry executives and conference attendees went head-to-head in Segway races while those in attendance could bet (with fake money) on who they thought would be the I-Gaming Segway Grand Prix Champion as well as who would win each round of races.

Donations were solicited before the event, in addition to a silent auction, which took place during the regular hours of the expo hall, which combined to raise more than $55,000 for the California Council on Problem Gambling.

The council works alongside individuals with problem gambling issues and with companies in the gambling industry to help train and identify those that might have problems.

Realtime Gaming CEO Michael Staw was crowned the Segway champion after he beat a conference attendee in the championship Segway race. Both finalists were Segway owners and opted to run the final race on their Segways backwards.

Two of Staw's employees, Brian Kral and Josh Berman, tied as the best punters, both had placed sizable future bets on their boss to become champion at 15-1 odds, and agreed to a coin-flip to decide which would win a free pass to next year's GIGSE.

Staw wasn't the only online gaming executive to come away a winner from GIGSE.

The opening night reception, which was sponsored by event host River City Group and Party Poker, included a poker tournament. Individuals qualified for the event by playing for free on the Party Poker site prior to GIGSE. The top 32 players then made it to the finals at the opening night reception.

As the field was whittled down to the final table it ended up heads-up action with a pair of representatives from, a site due to launch later this year. Stacks Chairmen Bradley Reynolds edged out CEO Thomas Newton on the final hand to take home the $5,000 grand prize courtesy of Party Poker.

IGN will have continued recaps from GIGSE 2005 throughout this week.

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