BETTING ODDITIES: In his latest weekly blog, DAVID STEWART takes a sideways look at some of the stories making the news in the betting world and beyond.


Back from an afternoon at ICE. Originally short for ‘International Casinos Exhibition’ but now an emporium mega-exhibition for all things gaming. Allegedly.

It’s full of corporate gaming providers – usually called something BET*** or BET***** just fill in the four/five blanks with basically any word you like, get a few white sofas on your stand, a Nespresso machine and hey you too could be a European gaming giant.

If you like slot machines (are they even still called that?) then this is Havana. If not, you may struggle but you’ll get a good work out as walking around the whole of the Excel felt like a Saturday parkrun to me.

Strangely enough, the first thing I wanted to do on arrival was watch the 3.00 at Southwell. I’d had a tip but for all the flashing lights and technology I couldn’t see a screen showing the race so had to use the old fashioned phone to listen to the race. (It won, but after-timing a 5/4 winner would be pathetic, wouldn’t it?).

It made me think that in the big wide world of European ‘gaming’ the 3.00 at Southwell was fairly inconsequential to anything, sadly.

But for a conference that promises to ‘discover the next big thing in gaming’ I left fairly underwhelmed. It felt a lot like last year’s next big thing in gaming and the year before.

A bit like Apple’s launch event – it was genuinely exciting and innovative in the Steve Job’s era of iPhones but as the years go on you start to wonder whether everything’s been invented. In slots language – a cherry is still a cherry and a bell is still a bell.

But the REALLY disappointing aspect (and clearly THE most important thing) is the quality of freebies seems to have dropped significantly. Austerity was on show.

Stands offering what looked like digestive biscuits WTF is that all about? I can remember in the good old days coming away with phone chargers, decent playing cards, stress balls, Parker pens (just for enquiring), sit on lawn mowers, home jacuzzi’s (….. OK maybe the memory is getting carried away).


The freebies took some digesting this year
Squeezing the lemons
Surely a million to ever land this big fella?
You can now play slots not just from your arm chair but the arm
Balaklava but no 3.00 at Southwell 🙁
Just repeat this picture 100 times and that’s basically ICE
Been in smaller aircraft hangars
Option to play blackjack not on a machine still available, for now
But where’s the exit?


Walked past this sign in London the other day.

A company advertising a product with NO terms and conditions. It’ll never catch on.


So we’ve gone. One last rendition of Auld Lang Syne from the European Parliament and it was farewell UK.

The 1.01 shot though was that everyone needed the words. Because, trust me, no one has ever known the words to Auld Lang Syne except for ‘…… for the sake of Auld Lang Syne’.


DAVID STEWART is a freelance digital betting producer and journalist. His CV includes: The Sun, The Sporting Life, Racing Post, At The Races, The Sportsman, lead feature writer for Sky’s Betview magazine and senior producer Timeform Radio.

Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.