The European i-Gaming Congress and Expo (EiG) is the must-attend event for professionals in the European facing online gambling industry, as evidenced by the most recent expo taking place from September 15-17, 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Drawing a strong turnout of the online gambling industry’s leading experts and most important names in the business, not to mention many up-and-comers and fulltime industry affiliates, EiG Expo continues to unite the European online gambling industry.
Spanning three jam-packed days of panel discussions, networking sessions and talk-backs, EiG’s 2009 itinerary offered a little of everything. Day one included multiple “speed networking sessions”, a welcome address and opening keynote (emphasizing global business), moderated by eCOGRA’s active Chariman, Micheal Hirst, an “Industry Pioneers” panel discussion that included valuable information about investing in the European online gambling industry, and a network launch of Bodog’s new online poker network.
Day two was the most anticipated of the expo, offering panel discussions that included a “State of the Industry” conference with CEO’s of leading online gambling brands, such as Party Gaming, Bwin, 888, Betfair, Ladbrokes and Will Hill, a full day of strategic marketing panel discussions pertaining to acquisition and retention, new markets, legal & business affairs, as well as online marketing and affiliate activities. Day three was a half-day of more of the same covered over the course of day two.
One of the most timely discussed issues was the recent European Court of Justice ruling that went against Austria-based Bwin, regarding Portugal’s State-run gambling monopoly, Las Santa Casa de Misericordia. As mentioned, Bwin’s co-CEO, Norbert Teufelberger, was a speaker on the “State of the Industry” panel. Despite the apparent “setback” ruling that gave Portugal legal right to keep Bwin and other EU online betting operators from doing business in Portugal, Teufelberger said he is optimistic that widespread regulation will exist in Europe in the next two years.
Teufelberger, as well as other CEO’s on the panel, were optimistic that the US would also turn its policies around and usher in legislation to regulate online gambling in the near future – even if at a State level. In short, all of the panelist’s agreed that the number one issue facing the online gambling industry is regulation – and regulation in the US and Europe in particular.
So, while the biggest names in the internet betting industry invest their resources into markets that will either make or break the online gambling industry’s fullest potential, it’s the players who continue making wagers and keeping the industry afloat. But thanks to conferences like the EiG, the online gambling industry can move forward as a whole, offering a glimpse into the future of the state of online gambling, which essentially says, it is here to stay.