Success in Montreal

18 May 2000
We didn't think we could outdo "Vancouver 1999," but the 2000 Global Interactive Gaming Summit, held last week in Montreal, was even bigger and better. The prevailing theme for the week, although not necessarily by design, was the refreshingly amicable coexistence between the virtual and real-world gaming industries. In case you couldn't make it, here's a rundown of what you missed...

The River City Group's second annual Global Interactive Gaming Summit & Expo was so successful-- more than 520 attendees from 32 nations around the globe showed up--that anyone doubting the endurance of the interactive gaming industry had to take notice.

Lending substance to the wildly successful program was an impressive, diverse lineup of speakers along with the 26 exhibitors showcasing their products and services. Networking during the three-day event was at an all-time high. Exhibitors and attendees all left the event exhausted, but excited over the new contacts made and the invaluable knowledge gained.

While seemingly everyone in the biz was in attendance, we know a few missed out, so we've put together a few highlights of the event to tide absentees over until tapes and presentation material are made available at the River City Group's website in coming weeks.

There was plenty to keep attendees' minds in overdrive. For example, an overview of the global interactive gaming industry was more than shoptalk. Instead, both Interactive Gaming Council Chairman Sue Schneider and industry analyst Sebastian Sinclair whetted attendees' appetites for hard-hitting and
thought-provoking commentary. Sinclair nudged this with his revised financial forecast and put an exclamation point on the session by boldly predicting that the interactive gaming industry will be bringing in more dollars than the bricks-and-mortar gaming industry within a few years.

A view from Vegas generated even more interest, leaving attendees with little doubt that Vegas casino operators are keeping tabs on the Internet for their own eventual move there. Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Brian Sandoval told attendees, "We realize that Internet gaming is here to stay. We are listening and learning."

"The brands will get into the game," predicted Nevada gaming attorney Anthony Cabot. "I can tell you with no hesitation that Internet gambling is a major topic of every major casino company in Nevada, all of whom are trying to figure out what their Internet gambling strategy is going to be," he added.

Nearly every licensing jurisdiction and continent was covered during the Summit's two days Ben Shaw with the Zetters Group, for example, provided a droll look at how companies can target the European market. "Think European," he recommended, "but act locally."

News of the freshly proposed Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act (which proposes to make just about any payment method for Internet gambling illegal) turned the heat up a few notches during a discussion about payment solutions. The news dovetailed nicely (or not so nicely, considering the bill's possible effect on your business) with the topic.

Washington D.C. attorney Anita Boomstein was vocal in her opposition of the bill. "This is a very dangerous bill and precedent. It effectively puts (banks) in the position of being the policemen (for enforcing) how their payment solutions are used."

A fascinating look at the future by keynote speaker Frank Feather left attendees excited and awed about tomorrow's possibilities.

Not to be outdone, lobbyist David Safavian impressed the audience with a demonstration of NeoTrace, the same domain tracing software used by the FBI, in which he traced to a server located in New Hampshire.

Closing the show was an international panel regulators who discussed just how a world order could be accomplished. Their presentations and comments explored the various models used for licensing interactive gaming and how various governments could work together through reciprocal recognition of licensing and even revenue-sharing.

The entire package of summit and exposition left attendees briefly sated, yet curious when and where next year's event will be held. The time and date haven't been named, however, Schneider closed the final segment by hinting that Dublin is a strong possibility.

Vicky Nolan joined the IGN staff in October 1999. She's best known for inventing fire, the wheel and swiss cheese. She can be reached at