It will not have escaped readers’ attention that the inaugural CasinoBeats Summit took place in London last week, as part of the wider Betting on Sports event at Olympia. We’ve sort of been going on about it – with good reason, we like to think.
CasinoBeats was launched in January, as a new SBC Global media brand aimed at the online and land-based casino sector. News and views, fast and free. You hopefully will be receiving the weekday newsletter and you can find CB on all the usual social channels along with Google News.
It had always been our plan to launch a content-focused event. Around April, while planning Betting on Sports 2018, we got a bit giddy and decided to hold the first CasinoBeats Summit alongside it. It went well and we learned a lot.
As the event organiser, here’s our five main takeaways.
CONTENT REALLY IS KING
The SEO mantra, manifest. Of course, the idea that people will seek out a source if it offers valuable and preferably unique content is nothing new. Producing that content – and it being good – is far from straightforward.
The same applies to conferences, by and large. It is not a fallacy to say that this event or the other is “all about the content” – but neither is it simply a case of “build it, and they will come”. CB has been to too many conferences for which the end product is not the sum of it parts. You may have the CEO of a leading company, but is she a good speaker? Will her comments draw gasps from the audience? If not, then keep looking.
The content needs to be carefully shaped and informed by the speakers and moderators, and by the mood of the sector itself. And there are no shortcuts.
THE INDUSTRY WANTS AN EVENT LIKE THIS ONE
On several occasions in the run-up to the Summit, we had to keep our enthusiasm in check to one degree or another. But as preparations wore on – and more top speakers were added to the line-up – it became clear that people were really open to the idea of a London-based online casino conference in the early autumn.
From operators and suppliers, associations and regulators, came directors, CEOs, founders and more. They were keen to speak and willing to take on some preparatory work ahead of the event, aware of our insistence that the sessions were not just sales pitches but Proper Shop Talk.
The response to the event has also been extremely encouraging – delegates and speakers want to return.
SBC CAN THROW A PARTY
Having an event host – and their sponsors – arrange and fund hospitality for one’s networking pleasure is not something that should be undervalued. Of course, some networking events are better than others. Those organisers filed under “could do better” are missing a trick.
SBC gets it. The food at its daytime events is free. And it’s good. No dried-out cheese salad sandwiches for €7 a pop, here. The same ethos extends to the evening events – the closing party for last week’s events was a humdinger.
Taking place at the Natural History Museum in London, party-goers were treated to a free bar beneath the vast diving skeleton of a blue whale. It was a genuinely breathtaking sight and an event that will live long in the memory. As one guest put it, “SBC certainly knows how to throw a party”.
BOS IS A THRILLING BEDFELLOW
Betting on Sports continues to flourish and grow, year on year. But it is not just a numbers game. The enthusiasm for the event and the high esteem in which it is held by some of the most influential people in the global betting sector is really astonishing to see, first hand.
Yes, there were celebrity visitors, of course, and the FA Cup and wi-fi that actually works – but, more than this, was the fact that the quiet majority of visitors are influencers. Decision makers at C-level, attending the event to work – not simply so that they can brush shoulders with Ronnie O’Sullivan. For CasinoBeats, an entity still in its first year, the bar has been set very high.
WE’RE GOING TO NEED A BIGGER BOAT
The first staging of the CasinoBeats Summit was consciously a modest start to the event’s life story. As a new brand seeking to diversify the offer of an established event, we had to cut our cloth to suit. Next year will be different. As a mature event, BoS will remain the larger draw – that’s to be expected. But the Summit will grow.
Decisions on the numbers of tracks, the specific rooms and the nature of the exhibition area are all yet to be taken but it has been made clear to us that there is an appetite for and a willingness to commit to an event like this.