Following a decision made by its Board of Directors, the company has “reluctantly” taken the decision to withdraw from its planned participation as a major exhibitor at the event, which was recently postponed from its traditional February dates to April 12-14 due to concerns over the Omicron coronavirus variant spread.
Merkur informed its decision to ICE organizers, Clarion Events, citing their view that, for a number of reasons, the Gauselmann Group‘s firm’s “substantial investment” in ICE would be “unable to show a positive return.”
In a press release Monday, Merkur Gaming stated: “We are completely unable to accept the new dates for ICE 2022. With the show running right up to the start of the Easter holiday period, the fact that the Covid pandemic – in the form of the Omicron variant that is currently rampant throughout the United Kingdom – is still a major health risk issue and the still to be seen additional logistical difficulties that stem from the UK’s Brexit withdrawal. All of these factors combine to reach the inescapable conclusion that the visitor numbers (both those UK-based and those wishing to travel from overseas) will be severely impacted in a negative way, the show will be unable to present itself as the world-leading event of recent years, and the practical difficulties for international exhibitors will also be greatly increased.”
“We have a clear duty of care for our employees and also for our business partners, customers and those who choose to attend the show and that must be a major priority. We regard Clarion Events and ICE itself as major factors in Merkur’s success in recent years. We hope to be able to re-engage with them at the earliest possible opportunity but that has to be at the right time, in the right place and in the right conditions. We look forward to that positive collaboration, we regret having to take the decision that we are now announcing but, under the present circumstances, we are convinced that we have chosen the correct path as an example to and for the benefit of the entire international gaming industry,” Merkur concluded.
In September last year, Merkur Gaming alleged difficulties regarding London as the host venue for ICE London involving Brexit, the location in the Docklands, the costs of travel and transport for non-UK exhibiting companies, the costs of accommodation, social events and exhibiting space. Back then, the company called exhibitors to “express those concerns openly and engage in a dialogue to find a solution.”