New Faces, New Event

15 August 2008

Now in its seventh year, I-gaming's largest European event is well fitted with variety, fun and focus. IGamingNews takes a look at some of the more creative features at the upcoming European i-Gaming Congress and Expo.

New employees at Clarion Gaming have brought new ideas to the conferences, and this year's installment of EiG, Sept. 23-25 in Barcelona, Spain, promises to be exciting, unique and far-flung from years past.

Before the conference even gets started on day one -- while registration is still underway -- paid attendees will be treated to a unique demonstration of an experience management program developed by Foviance, a London-based customer experience consultancy firm.

Procured for the event by Mark Walker, Clarion Gaming's new conference manager, Foviance will lead a morning-long workshop on using its emotional engagement technology to build a better Web site and better customer retention strategies.

Foviance's emotional engagement program combines electroencephalogram technology with eye tracking to gauge a customer’s emotional response to a product or advertisement or, in this case, an online gambling site.

Who's the Next Big Thing?

The EiG Launchpad, sure to be the most exciting session of the show, was inspired by Dragon's Den, a popular BBC television program in which entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to the frightening "Den of Dragons," or five venture capitalists willing to invest their own money in exchange for equity.

Pitting the industry's most recent startups against each other, the session on day two will give one representative from each of four new companies five minutes to present before a panel of industry pioneers.

The panel, which includes Mark Blandford, the founder of Sportingbet, Leigh Nissim, the managing director of St. Minver U.K., Ken Arnold, the chief executive of Cyber Arts and Paul Kanareck, the head of media ventures, Fremantle Media, will decide which one has the best chance of becoming the next big thing in the I-gaming space.

The new companies include eGaming 2.0, founded by Alex Czajkowski, who is no stranger to the industry, but is off on a new adventure. He previously served as marketing director for Sportingbet.

Others include URBet, founded by Adam Burkitt; Pikum, a social Net betting company created by a young serial entrepreneur from the United States named Sean Glass; and Smarkets, a new betting exchange co-founded by Jason Trost, another young American industrialist.

Building Bridges

For the first time in its history, EiG will bring industry affiliates together with the general I-gaming population, which Mr. Walker of Foviance said is something to be excited about.

"Affiliates are a major part of the lifeblood and success of the online industry and for the first time we're inviting them for free to enjoy world-class sessions and networking, while affiliate managers from operators will get the chance to network and learn too, and the take-up is looking very strong on both sides," he said.

Established by Clarion Gaming with the support of the Gambling Portal Webmasters Association, an online gaming affiliate group, the Affiliate Zone is a dedicated area for affiliates to gain valuable industry knowledge and networking experience.

Never Too Much Information

Finally, EiG is not limiting itself to just one keynote speaker this year: four speakers from outside of the I-gaming realm are set to deliver boundary-pushing presentations.

Bruno Giussani, an Internet and technology expert, author and member of several boards of directors, will deliver the keynote address this year.

And closing day one is Pete Picton, editor of The Sun Online, a London-based newspaper. Mr. Picton will discuss his experience and trials in bringing a trusted and well-known brand name online.

The two other keynotes include Catriona Campbell, chief executive of Foviance, who will lead the player-experience workshop on day one, and David Kushner, a best-selling author of gambling and gaming books and a contributing editor of Wired and Rolling Stone magazines.

Other topics include United States and European legal and regulatory issues and updates, industry marketing, and technology.

Stay tuned for more here at EiG Central.

Emily Swoboda is the senior staff writer at IGamingNews. She lives in St. Louis, Mo.