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SBC Summit: all together again

By - 1 April 2020

Having newly announced its SBC Digital Summit from April 27 to May 1, G3 talks to SBC’s Jaap Kalma about the forthcoming ‘non-virtual’ gaming event, the SBC Summit, to be held in Barcelona in September this year.

What are your expectations for the event?

The SBC Summit is the new global betting and gaming show, and something everyone on the team is very excited about. It will be the biggest event we’ve ever staged in terms of audience numbers, the speaker line-up and the exhibition, and the biggest event in the industry in terms of the number of countries that delegates and speakers are drawn from.

A conference with 5,000 delegates requires a lot of content and we’re delighted to have been able to develop a programme that includes 350 expert speakers across 16 tracks, while reflecting the global nature of the audience and maintaining the quality that our Betting on Sports and CasinoBeats events are renowned for.

We’ve had great buy-in from senior figures across the betting, gaming, payments and affiliates sectors who were keen to participate, so I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that attendees can look forward to the most comprehensive agenda and highest level speaker roster our industry has ever seen.

One other feature of the conference element of the event that I’m looking forward to is that we have a 750-seat auditorium for keynote speeches and product launches. We’ve all seen the excitement that sort of set-up generates in other industries and, having had hugely positive feedback on the idea from our partners, we’re expecting a similar reaction from our audience.

The Fira de Barcelona venue also gives us an 18,000sq.m exhibition hall and we have 220 exhibitors attending, including many of the most innovative companies in the sportsbook and casino supply chains. The hall has zones for payments technology, digital marketing specialists and the media, along with a designated area for companies and charities who provide safer gambling products and services.

What are the key topics in the agenda?

When we conceived the idea for the Summit, we wanted to stage something that would appeal to the whole of the fast-growing global gaming industry, but given our experience in organising conferences, we also realised that there remains a great demand for specialised events. Our solution is in effect multiple targeted high-level conferences taking place at the same venue, providing delegates with valuable insights about their own sector and encouraging crossfertilisation of ideas between different areas of the industry and different territories.

We have multiple tracks devoted to sports betting and the many challenges it faces at this time, including how to respond to calls from politicians for greater regulation in established markets, reaching a new audience while complying with stricter advertising rules, the prospects for retail, and tackling the industry’s reputational issues.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, as we’ll also have sessions on some of the major opportunities in emerging markets, the latest technology, and how to prosper in newer verticals such as esports.

There are also several tracks covering the future of the online casino and slots sector, including content on poker, bingo and live casino, along with a full programme covering payments solutions, fraud and compliance issues. Additionally, the digital marketing tracks will focus on how affiliates can prosper in the rapidly changing market conditions we are seeing around the world.

Finally, and very importantly, we have a safer gambling track that will see representatives of operators, regulators, charities and specialist suppliers working together to find practical solutions to what is arguably the biggest issue facing the industry at present. We staged a Safer Gambling Forum at CasinoBeats Summit last year, which was very well received and we’ve had lots of interest in this content for SBC Summit as well.

What speakers are you excited about?

We have more than 350 high-profile speakers lined-up, with renowned experts from sports betting and online casino markets around the world, along with safer gambling, payments and digital marketing specialists all ready to share their insights on dealing with and emerging from what is the most difficult period the digital gambling sector has experienced.

It’s difficult to pick standouts from a roster that is shaping up to be a Who’s Who of the gaming world, but I’m really looking forward to hearing from Sportradar’s Founder & CEO Carsten Koerl. He’s one of the most important and successful figures in the industry’s history, and a member of the Sports Betting Hall of Fame, so it’ll be fascinating to hear what he has to say.

We also have a host of operator CEOs, including Jesper Svensson (Betsson), Giovanni Garrisi (Stanleybet), Paris Smith (Pinnacle), JD Duarte (Betcris), Johnny Hartnett (Superbet), Tzvetomir Naydenov (Efbet), Minja Bolesnikov (MaxBet), Dominik Beier (Interwetten), Alexander Stevendahl (Videoslots) and Lahcene Merzoug (ComeOn!). Between them they have an unrivalled wealth of industry knowledge, which is derived from a huge range of international markets, so their perspectives on best practice, regulatory change, operational problems and emerging opportunities will give our audience plenty to think about.

SBC boasts four major conferences in Malta, New Jersey, London and Barcelona across 2020. How do you ensure events are not homogenised and what makes SBC Summit different to SBC’s other events?

All our events are content-led and the agendas act as the major differentiator between them, attracting different audiences and exhibitors,
which in turn ensures each has its own atmosphere. In the cases of CasinoBeats Malta, Betting on Sports America and Betting on Sports Europe, each has an overarching theme that you can probably guess from the names.

With SBC Summit, we wanted to do something different and bring people together from right across the betting and gaming sector, and reflecting the growing internationalisation of the industry, from around the world. The interaction between professionals from the various markets and the sharing of ideas from so many different perspectives will give the conference a unique feel.

It’s also exciting to be going to Barcelona, which is a new host city for us and offers the perfect venue for the event itself, some great settings for the evening parties, and lots of attractions for the delegates in their free time. The feedback we’ve had from our partners about the decisions to develop an industry-wide event and stage it in Barcelona has been overwhelmingly positive, and we can’t wait to deliver a superb experience for all attendees.

What networking opportunities are available?

As with all our events, we’ll have a real focus on helping people to make valuable new senior level contacts and to do business with them. As well as facilities for networking and meetings at the venue itself, all delegates will have access to exclusive evening networking parties at upmarket venues in Barcelona – something that’s included with the conference pass.

We know from previous events that our audience love the relaxed atmosphere at our parties, which provide a great opportunity to make new connections and catch up with old colleagues.

One of the most common things regular exhibitors, sponsors and delegates tell us about our networking events is that they’ve ended up doing some business with a contact they were introduced to at one of the parties.

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