Industry Forum 2023
September 26-29, 2023 saw the European casino industry meet for the European Casino Association’s annual Casino Industry Forum set against the spectacular backdrop of Montreux in Switzerland, hosted by the Casino Barrière de Montreux. The shores of Lake Geneva proved the picture-perfect gathering place for Europe’s leading casino operators to discuss the challenges, opportunities, trends and developments in land-based and online casino gaming.
In addition to the formal ECA member General Assembly, this year’s event programme was both wide and diverse, covering a host of exclusive presentations from European casino operators, internationally recognised speakers, and social activities exploring Montreux’s thriving cultural centre, which plays host to international jazz festivals, world-renowned artists, and global conventions.
Opening the conference, highly respected keynote speaker, Aric Dromi, discussed the rising expectations of customers who look for highly immersive and personalised gaming experiences that are also ethically sound and environmentally sustainable. On a similar topic, but from a different perspective, Hospitality Expert, Nancy Rademaker, spoke about the X factor of Customer Centricity, the effect on organisations and that an equal focus on Employee Experience (EX) will distinguish great companies from average ones.
Recognised industry experts also addressed the conference, including Phillipe Vlaemminick, Vlaemminick Law, who outlined the impact of new EU AML regulations on Europe's land-based and online casino industry. Paul Such, Hacknowledge, gave a fascinating and shocking appraisal of the threats facing casino operators in the post MGM and Caesars Ent. data breach era. Lucien Wijsman, FleXpeQt BV, graphically demonstrated the relationship between RTP (Return to Player) and the Player Experience, while Ismail Vali, Yield Sec, gave another informative and sobering account of illegal market activity in Europe.
The American Gaming Association’s Anton Severin summarised the extraordinary growth of the US market post-pandemic, and Europol presented its main findings from the European Financial and Economic Crime Threat Assessment (EFECTA). Representing ECA members, the ECA Industry Forum’s CEO Panel Discussion featured Simon Thomas (Hippodrome Casino), Petra de Ruiter (Holland Casino), Erwin van Lambaart (Casinos Austria) and Tiina Siltanen (Veikkaus Casino Helsinki & Tampere), who engaged in an enlightening debate delving into the future challenges and opportunities facing the land-based casino business in Europe.
In addition to the conference, a special social itinerary during the ECA Industry Forum provided opportunities for networking and socialising between industry partners and members of the ECA. Activities included an exciting poker tournament at the Casino Montreux Poker room; a guided walking tour in the steps of Freddy Mercury, which took guests on a musical journey around the Swiss municipality and town; a reception dinner at the historic Chillon Castle on the shore of Lake Geneva, in addition to the traditional ECA Casino Industry Forum Gala Dinner hosted in spectacular style at Casino Barrière de Montreux.
recommended dress code - smart casual
Please take a train (Swiss rail company website) from Geneva Airport to Montreux and check into your selected hotel in Montreux.
Visit the casino reception (please bring a picture ID) of Casino Barrière Montreux to register and get your personal casino card that gives you access to the casino areas during your stay in Montreux
Get together at Casino Barrière BAR L'ESCADRILLE - welcome drinks, followed by a guided tour of the casino facilities and a flying dinner at the BAR L'ESCADRILLE
Poker tournament at the Casino Montreux Poker room
The rest of the evening is at your disposal
recommended dress code - business casual
09.00 - 11.00
For ECA Board Members - Board Meeting at Salon Biarritz Casino Barrière (only Board Members)
09.30 - 11.00
All other guests and participants are invited to a guided tour walking tour in the footsteps of Freddy Mercury. The meeting point is the casino reception. The dress code is casual
Please get changed to business casual for the group picture after lunch
11.30 - 12.15
Lunch at Salon La Baule
Group picture ECA Members and Partners at a location to be announced
12.30 - 13.45
General Assembly Part I - Presentation of ECA Partners - Partners - at Salon Claude Nobs - on the stage this year (ECA members and partners only):
13.45 - 14.00
Coffee Break inside Salon Claude Nobs
14.00 - 15.30
General Assembly Part II - Formal association subjects and approvals - at Salon Claude Nobs (ECA members only)
End of day one conference programme
Reception at Chillon Castle followed by Dinner - recommended dress code business casual
End of day one
recommended dress code - business casual
Opening Keynote - Looking to the future with Aric Dromi - Futurologist
“Navigating Change and Seizing Opportunities: The Future of Casino, Entertainment, and Hospitality Industries”
10.30 - 11.00
Philippe Vlaemminck - vlaemminck.law
“Impact of the EU AML regulation on Europe's land-based and online casino industry”
11.00 - 11.30
Beata Guizik - vlaemminck.law
“Impact of ESG EU regulations on Europe's land-based and online casino industry"
11.30 - 12.00
Paul Such - Hacknowledge
“Cybersecurity: top risk in 2023, how do they affect the casinos and gaming industry?”
12.00 - 12.50
Lunch Break at the Salon Cannes - buffet style
12.50 - 13.00
Group picture ECA Forum participants 2023 at a location to be announced
13.00 - 13.45
“Future visions of European Casino C-levels”
13.45 - 14.15
Lucien Wijsman - FleXpeQt BV
“What’s the relationship between RTP (Return to Player) and the Player Experience (if any)”
14.15 - 14.45
Maris Catania, SG:Certified
“Safer Gambling – The Real USP!”
14.45 - 15.15
Ismail Vali - Yieldsec
“The Great Illegal Gambling Robbery - How to battle, and beat, the black market in your jurisdiction?”
15.15 - 15.30
15.30 - 16.00
“Main findings of the first European Financial and Economic Crime Threat Assessment (EFECTA) by Europol”
16.00 - 16.30
Anton Severin - American Gaming Association AGA
“Navigating the Post-Pandemic Era: Insights into the U.S. Casino Renaissance”
16.30 - 17.30
Nancy Rademaker - Hospitality Expert (TBC)
“The X factor of Customer Centricity”
End of conference Programme
Reception at the Foyer (1st floor)
Gala Dinner at the Salon La Baule
Recommended dress code, business formal
Welcome address by Jérôme Colin, Directeur général chez Casino Barrière Montreux
Aric Dromi is a highly respected keynote speaker, futurologist, geopolitical, environmental & social Strategist. Aric spent years helping executives and decision makers to refine their offer and understand the potential impacts that lie along the road ahead. Aric’s strengths lie in his ability to identify patterns and challenge them, along with his ability to use this skill to define new directions and experiments that provide a pathway forward.
With a long career in choice architecture and systems design, innovation and futurology, Aric believes that our world is on the cusp of seismic changes that society, business and policymakers are not prepared for. He believes strongly in humanity’s ability to adapt and overcome, and thinks that technology has come to define, rather than serve us. He wants to change this equation, by working towards a more resilient societal model that enables a free market and a future for our children. Aric does this by providing strategic advice to organisations and executives, policymakers, cities and governments.
His focus areas include: Automation and fast tracking, Privacy, integrity, surveillance and legislation, Social trends and economic models, Transformation, smarter innovation and monetization structures, Mobility, logistics, energy, communication and smarted data, The reciprocal relationships between policy, society and technology, The future of cities and urban structures, The next frontier of Intelligence amplification in the era of VR, AR and AI
Aric is the Founder and CEO of TEMPUS.MOUU GROUP breakthrough Advisory board as a Service platform.
Philippe Vlaemminck has a unique profile in the field of lotteries, betting & gambling, consisting of more than 40 years specialist experience and an in-depth knowledge of all gaming and gambling issues with its practice in EU law, competition & trade. He represented the Belgian government in almost all gambling cases at the Court of Justice of the EU and EFTA Court (around 70 cases). Finally, he is a visiting professor in EU Competition law at the University of Ghent.
Beata Guzik is Director EU Public Affairs at Vlaemminck. Law. She has been working on gambling questions (especially RG & CSRD/CSDD, legal aspects of lotteries, betting & gambling marketing and advertising, AML & digital policy matters & innovation) in the EU and in Africa. She does also work on issues related to the EU Green deal including the impact on lotteries, betting & gambling.
Paul Such is a Swiss cyber-security expert and the founder and director of Hacknowledge (Swiss Post)
HACKNOWLEDGE is a vendor-neutral cyber-security Swiss company delivering monitoring services and consulting.
Paul has been working in cyber-security for more than 20 years, in 2002 he founded SCRT, one of the first Swiss companies entirely dedicated to information security. He ran the company for 16 years before selling it. He created Insomni’hack, one the first cyber-security conference and ethical hacking contest in Switzerland. He also participates in the organization of Blackalps and other cybersecurity conferences.
Paul teaches in several universities and engineering schools : HEIG-VD, HES SO Sierre, University of Geneva and EPFL. He is also a board member of the Banque Cantonal de Fribourg and of a wealth and asset management software company: Evooq.
Paul holds a master degree in IT Security, he also holds several certifications related to IT Security or project management.
Simon is executive chairman and majority shareholder of Hippodrome Casino limited, the extensive leisure casino complex above Leicester Square tube station which opened in July 2012. The project started in 2005.
The investment of £45 million in the theatre building and adjacent Cranbourn Mansions, both Grade 2 listed heritage buildings, created one of the West End’s premier entertainment venues, 80,000 ft2 with three floors of casino, eight bars, an award winning steak house, two private dining rooms, a dedicated cabaret theatre, home of the famous ‘Magic Mike Live’ show, and a Pokerstars live poker deck, and adding shortly a Chinese restaurant, a café, with a secret bar to follow. It employs over 650 people, is one of the largest single-site employers in the area and entertains over 30,000 customers a week.
Laurent Lassiaz has been in the casino industry for 15 years.
He is currently the CEO of JOA a leading European casino & leisure Group operating 34 casinos on the French market and an online betting platform JOAbet.
Laurent Lassiaz is also the Vice President of “Casinos de France” the trade association of the French casino industry.
Before joining the gaming sector, Laurent have had several Management position in the leisure industry, Senior Vice President of Club Med for Europe-Middle East and Africa region, OPS General Manager at PepsiCo Restaurant International managing both Pizza Hut and KFC brands for the French market.
Petra de Ruiter joined Holland Casino as CEO on 1 September 2022. She held a series of commercial
and operational positions for 30 years at both Air France-KLM and Transavia. Her last executive
position was Chief Operations Officer at Transavia Airlines. Petra de Ruiter is member of the
Supervisory Board at GVB Amsterdam (public transport).
She has a master in Organization Science from the University of Amsterdam and a bachelor in
Marketing from Hotel School The Hague.
Petra is passionate about creating diverse teams who are able to deal with complexity and working
together towards integral goals.
Erwin van Lambaart joined Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries as CEO in March 2022. Erwin has a substantial experience in the media, hospitality, event, marketing and entertainment sectors. After graduating from the Hotel School in The Hague, he worked for 15 years in the international hotel industry. After this, he moved on to the global live entertainment world, where he worked for another 15 years.
Erwin van Lambaart held a series of top executive and board positions at Accor, Avis, Joop van den Ende Theatre Productions, Stage Entertainment International and Niehe Media.
In 2016, he took over as CEO of Holland Casinos NV, where he established himself as a proven casino and gaming expert. On 14 March 2022, Erwin van Lambaart moved to Austria and took up his position as CEO of Casinos Austria AG and Österreichische Lotterien GmbH.
Erwin van Lambaart’s career has always been marked by a keen focus on hospitality and conceptual development. In 2016, he was awarded a Knighthood in the Order of Orange Nassau for his services to the live entertainment industry and his efforts on behalf of numerous charitable organisations.
Erwin van Lambaart is a member of various supervisory boards and is much in demand as a speaker at conferences on subjects such as leadership, talent coaching and the use of cross media know-how, multichannel strategies and expertise across various business sectors.
Tiina Siltanen is a respected leader in the European land-based casino industry with over 20 years of experience. She currently manages Casino Helsinki and Casino Tampere, leading a team of 160 professionals. Siltanen is also a board member of the European Casino Association and is dedicated to promoting professionalism in the industry. She is a graduate of the Executive Development Program at UNLV Las Vegas.
Lucien Wijsman has been in the -international- Casino Industry for more than 30 years. Originally with Holland Casino, later with the German Gauselmann Group and since the late nineties as an independent consultant and trainer.
Known as the founder of The Slot Academy and The Slot Summit, Lucien has travelled the world (literally) training Casino Management in the Marketing aspects of Electronic Gaming Operations. His Training Program was recognized and accredited by UNR (University of Reno, Nevada), where Lucien served on the Management Board of the Gaming Management Series. Both The Slot Academy and The Slot Summit were acquired by Clarion, were it was transformed into the Totally Gaming Academy (which Clarion sadly closed down during Covid).
In addition to training and conferences Lucien has advised (and is still advising) many Casino Operators world-wide. Latin America, Caribbean Bassin, United States, Canada, various African countries, Russia and parts of Asia have seen his involvement in Casino pre-openings and/or Management advise.
Maris Catania is a gambling industry veteran, with more than fourteen years of game integrity and safer gambling experience. Prior to joining SG:certified as a Senior Safer Gaming Consultant, Maris was Head of Responsible Gaming and Research at Kindred.
At Kindred, Maris led its overall RG strategy, as well as several RG research projects and coordinated university and treatment centre collaborations. She was also instrumental in the concept of behavioural detection system at Kindred known as PS-EDS (Player Safety – Early Detection System) alongside Karim Chikh, who together later formed Integrity Analytics.
Maris is an instrumental player in the SG:certified team. She leads and develops up-to-date and effective content for SG:certified on safer gambling issues. In addition, she supports our clients with their safer gambling needs using the SG:certified platform.
Maris has a Diploma in Gambling Addiction Counselling and Psychology, Msc in Psychology and has a PhD focusing on consumer protection, markers of harm, and responsible gambling, at Nottingham Trent University under the guidance of the leading distinguished Professor Mark Griffiths.
She has also been awarded the Gambling Compliance Most Significant Contribution to Responsible Gambling Research for three consecutive years.
Ismail Vali is the inventor and founder of Yield Sec, where he leads a team of industry experts and marketplace intelligence specialists to deliver the world’s first effective platform to help monitor, police, enforce and optimize the licensed marketplace across online betting, gaming, and lottery activity. The Yield Sec mission has an anti-crime focus upon removing black-market threats to revenue, taxation, and consumer protection, working alongside all legal stakeholders to benefit the ecosystem overall. Yield Sec’s technical intelligence platform is becoming an essential tool for operators, suppliers, trade associations, regulators, government, media and ad platforms, law enforcement and other legal actors.
Ismail’s background is in product development, marketing, and operations, fuelled by commercial discipline, creative ideas, a curiosity for what makes players play, and dissatisfaction with the status quo. Throughout his professional experience, Ismail has achieved commercial and creative success in both consulting and senior management roles. These include working as Head of Development for leading operator Ladbrokes, and as Chief Marketing Officer for ParadisePoker, SportingBet and PokerStars, each of which Ismail directed to international success with the teams and initiatives he implemented during his leadership.
Ismail’s focus on tackling the insidious impact of crime is bolstered by his educational background, having graduated from Brasenose College, Oxford University with a BA and MA in Law. This detailed academic legal background, along with numerous C-level operator positions in industry, led to the invention and founding of a unique solution to restrict and remove the harm caused by what has long been an endemic online industry problem: crime and its impact upon commerce, consumers, and the community.
Anton Severin serves as Director, Research at the American Gaming Association (AGA) that represents the $261 billion U.S. casino industry. In this role, he oversees AGA research efforts in support of member companies’ strategic objectives, managing research initiatives covering the full spectrum of issues affecting the gaming industry, including responsible gaming, public perceptions, diversity and inclusion, economic impact, sports betting, and more.
Since joining the AGA in late 2018, Anton has spearheaded the creation of the Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker, a long-term industry data tracking tool, to position the AGA as a central hub for industry data and insights.
Previously, Anton worked at Stockholm-based communications firm Gullers Grupp where he helped clients navigate policy and communications challenges related to the re-regulation of the Swedish gaming market.
Originally from Sweden, Anton holds a degree in Political Science from Uppsala University. He currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife and son.
Nancy Rademaker is one of the very few female international keynote speakers to cover the impact of digitization on customer and employee behaviour. She has over 20 years of experience in IT. She likes to focus on how technology influences people’s behaviour, and how it helps them to share knowledge and to create and innovate.
As a highly rated and motivating international business speaker, Nancy has energized corporate events with bold presentations on the topics of digital transformation, extreme customer centricity, employee experience, disruption, Artificial Intelligence, and leadership.
She travels the world taking business leaders to innovation hubs like Silicon Valley and China, using that first-hand inspiration to keep the keynote content and examples on the cutting edge of the latest technologies, developments, and disruptive new business models.
Nancy is also an entrepreneur; she is a senior partner with the Speakers Club and co-founder of a startup, Drawify.com.