John Coleman, Microgaming CEO

IF there is one online gaming company that embodies the spirit of the modern ICE, it is Isle of Man-based software giant Microgaming.

From the indispensable Microgaming Bar to a seemingly ever-changing stand that embraced not one but three games and associated themes, the pioneering firm is once again seeking to turn heads at ExCeL.

To find out a bit more about plans for this week’s showpiece, CasinoBeats talked exclusively to the company’s CEO John Coleman.

What are you most looking forward to about ICE 2019?

JC: “The pinnacle event of gaming, ICE remains a permanent fixture in my diary. Each year
presents a unique opportunity for our industry to gather, share our wealth of knowledge,
and plot a course for the year ahead.

“I’m especially looking forward to the diverse range of content we will showcase on our stand. This is something we do well every year, but 2019 is set to stand out, as we will be joined by experts from six of the independent studios behind our latest and upcoming games. Who better to showcase our content than the teams who invest their passion and talent into creating it?

“Collaboration is so important in our world. ICE 2019 will see Microgaming present an array of fantastic new titles from the studios, along with our expanding catalogue of premium casino, bingo, poker and table games.

“But it’s not all about the people and products. ICE provides an opportunity to highlight some of our other commitments, in areas such as corporate social responsibility and
environmental sustainability. The brilliant eco-warriors of our CSR programme, Microgaming PlayItForward, have worked wonders in ensuring we provide a range of compostable cups, reusable water cans and recycling facilities for attendees. It’s going to be our greenest ICE yet.

“I’m also looking ahead to the numerous networking opportunities that ICE brings. It’s always a pleasure to meet and greet our operators, and to show them what we’ve got planned. A prime opportunity for this will be our exclusive operator party at MNKY HSE on Tuesday evening.

“This is set to be our biggest yet, and I’m incredibly excited to be attending it.”

Last year, Microgaming set the scene with show stopping activations to introduce Playboy Gold, Cash of Kingdoms and Fortunium. Are you set to top that this year?

“Six excellent headliners are due to be revealed, so there’s a lot to celebrate and massively
high expectations to meet. But we’re always ready to outdo ourselves! The Microgaming Bar will play host to a number of special performances over the three days, with each
blockbusting event being accompanied by a superb DJ.

“Without giving too much away, attendees can look forward to a funky experience from our Village People game launch, and the 15th anniversary of our partnership with Square Enix for the Lara Croft brand will be celebrated with a suitably sensational reveal.

“Microgaming is also gearing up for several big milestones. Not only is the business celebrating its 25th anniversary, but after yet another huge jackpot win on our popular Mega Moolah slot, our progressive jackpot network is now beyond €1bn in total payouts.”

“ICE is the essential marker of where we are now and where we’ll be heading in the future

Why is ICE such an important event for Microgaming?

“ICE is the essential marker of where we are now and where we’ll be heading in the future.
As well as exhibiting the sheer variety our industry offers, it’s an incredible platform from which we can observe emerging trends and transformations that are there to be embraced.

“If there’s a fundamental tenet that’s guided Microgaming, from back in 1994 when we created the world’s first true online casino software, to 2004 when we developed the first mobile casino software, all the way up to being the award-winning supplier we are today, it is this: our lifeblood is innovation, and we need to be creatively agile to keep it
pumping through our veins.

“It would be all too easy to stand still in a high-growth industry. You could allow it to perpetually expand around you, and let it hold you rigid as you ride the crest of a seemingly never-ending wave. But we’re not here to be carried along, and ICE isn’t just another marketplace; it’s a thriving hub of experience, insight and invention. It’s an opportunity for us to learn more from our operators.

“ICE is the eye-opening education that keeps Microgaming limber and thirsty for what’s coming next.”

How do you think the show has developed over the years that you’ve been going?

“Well, it’s a lot bigger. Looking back, it’s a near perfect reflection of how rapidly and widely
the industry has expanded in a relatively short space of time.

“For Microgaming, this means we’ve been able to evolve our demonstrations, creating bigger and more immersive experiences based around our world-class content. We’re entertainers at heart and ICE is the ultimate stage for gaming.”

“for every peak we scale,
there will always be a higher
one on the horizon

What are you most excited about for the industry – and for Microgaming – in the coming year? 

“Innovation is the big, industry-wide ambition for the year ahead, and that’s profoundly
exciting for me. It means stepping outside our comfort zones and engaging in the bold,
creative thinking that is utterly vital in our ever-progressing world.

“The past year saw Microgaming make huge leaps as we extended our presence in regulated markets such as Colombia, Sweden, Bulgaria and Denmark. We picked up a number of awards along the way, launched 27 stunning games, ushered in a new era of prestige table games content, and our progressive jackpot network – the largest in the world – awarded a record-breaking payout of €18.9m through Mega Moolah.

“But for every peak we scale, there will always be a higher one on the horizon. Microgaming will approach 2019 with a galvanised pioneering spirit, leading the way with
innovative, diverse content, while always keeping an eye on the path less travelled.”