One of the world's largest Internet gaming conferences had its best showing yet this past week.
Over 1,200 senior executives from over 63 countries descended on the CCIB Centre in Barcelona to attend the sixth annual European I-Gaming Conference and Expo. They were there to discuss the implications of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and to explore new markets and new technologies for the industry.
Despite numerous setbacks in the past year the mood at the conference was optimistic and many execs were hopeful for a quick rebound from last year.
888.com CEO Gigi Levi handled this year's opening address and preached about the importance of embracing new technologies in the industry.
"We've been good at marketing and missed many trends critical to the growth of our industry," he said.
Levi talked about the importance of embracing new trends like localization, communities, personalization, virtual worlds and the over-50 demographic.
This year had a stacked CEO panel which included such industry insiders as Ron Martin of NETeller, Inc.; Andrew McIvor of Sportingbet; Petter Nylander of Unibet;and Jez San of PKR.com. All of the panel members voiced their opinions on the events of the past year.
They were brutally honest at times.
"It has clearly been a challenging year; personally it's not been fun," said Martin of NETeller. "You deal the cards that have been dealt and currently we sit in a comfortable position."
There is a silver lining, however. Eastern Europe and Asia are looked at as two markets ripe for expansion over the next 12 months. McIvor mentioned that if payment processing could be figured out in Asia then it could become a massive market within a short period of time.
All panel members agreed that it was time to take a serious look at making their online entertainment more inclusive and more immersive. Overall, they concurred, it should be a superior experience.
Of course it was difficult to avoid the subject of the U.S. market. Experts predicted a long struggle to try to bring online gaming back to the United States.
"We need to show Americans that responsible gaming is possible online," said PartyGaming CEO Mitch Gerber.
EiG saw a growth of 43% in the exhibition space taken. New exhibitors included NETeller, Red Planet Gaming, Betsoft Gaming and many more.
Overall the conference was seen as a very positive experience for anybody involved in the online gaming industry. Next year is sure to be even bigger as the industry attempts to regain its footing in the U.S. market.