November saw the inaugural Gambling Indaba, a new kind of exhibition and conference in Cape Town. Casino International attended, and we very much liked what we saw.
What was different about the first Gambling Indaba, held in South Africa’s gorgeous Cape Town? The focus of the event was very much on the conference, rather than that being treated as an add-on – it was about sharing information and experience from around the African continent. That’s not to say the exhibition was the add-on – exhibitors all left happy with the event. The main reason for this was the quality of the guests; organisers targeted influencers and decision-makers from casinos across Africa, so despite there being less time for milling around expo stands, both visitor and exhibitor were of the right quality.
Of course, holding an event in Cape Town is never going to be a hardship for most people to visit – it’s such a beautiful place. A few eyebrows have been raised and questions asked about the validity of such an event, but writing this afterward, I genuinely hope the Indaba has a bright future. It’s about discussion, sharing experience and ideas, and education – it’s not about selling stand space at the highest possible price. Less about getting high numbers through the door, and more about getting the right people there. And put simply, that is why it was a success. Here’s to Indaba 2016.
Casino International spoke with Percy Kwinda, CEO of Gambling Indaba to learn what inspired the event – and ask about the next iteration.
Casino International: What inspired you to organise the Indaba?
Percy Kwinda: We felt that there was a serious need for an African gambling and allied trade industry gathering. As the African and Southern African market becomes an increasingly important market globally, and given the rapid growth experienced across the African continent in gaming areas like sports betting, an African trade show just makes sense. The South African gaming jurisidiction is world-class and is a leader in many respects globally, especially with regard to cashless gaming and responsible gaming issues. Gambling Indaba, which takes is name from the Zulu word for ‘meeting’ gives the African continent an opportunity to showcase local products, gaming equipment and services and will in future provide a forum for international investors, local regulators and operators to meet and do business across all disciplines of gaming including casinos, lotteries, sports betting, online gaming and LPMs (AWPs).
CI: What do you feel was particularly successful from the event?
PK: Our inaugural event was a great success, given that it was the first African trade show for more than a decade, and signalled a return to the world stage of the opportunities available across Africa. Our conference was particularly strong this year and drew many local and international delegates. Our innovation of rewarding and recognising the great work done by gambling companies along CSI (Corporate and Social Initiatives) and charity work was also very well received.
CI: Is there anything you will be changing for future events – any areas you feel could be improved?
PK: Yes, we will look at increasing our trade show component as well as including more breakaway opportunities for training and technical workshops.
CI: Will there be an Indaba in 2016?
PK: Most definitely – we are looking at securing a date for beginning October (and will announce this shortly). Gambling Indaba will become an annual event and we are sure that it will grow from year to year, becoming the ‘Gateway to Gambling in Africa’. Keep an eye out at www.gamblingindaba.com for news and dates.
CI: What was feedback like from speakers and exhibitors? Did you get feedback from attendees as well? What was the general feeling from everyone involved?
PK: Feedback from delegates, speakers and attendees was overwhelmingly positive – although we have identified a few areas that can be improved upon going forward. But, the forum opportunity for all involved in the gaming industry to discuss, debate and learn was one that many felt was long overdue for the African market.