C-level panel at the World Gaming Executive Summit, Barcelona, July 4

As the first full day of this year’s World Gaming Executive Summit gathered pace at the W Hotel in Barcelona, a C-level panel addressed some of the issues facing the gaming sector.

The panel, comprising Werner Bacher, CEO of Interwetten; Gavin Hamilton, CEO of Red Tiger Gaming; Marco Castaldo, general manager at Microgame; and Jesper Kärrbrink, CEO of Mr Green; debated a handful of key challenges that the industry must negotiate in the coming years.

Considering the recently confirmed advertising ban in Italy  – which has perplexed the sector there – and a number of other issues, the panels returned again and again to the notion of gambling as an entertainment offer.

With reference to Italy, Kärrbrink told hundreds of delegates in the W’s vast conference suite: “I will be extremely surprised if gambling activity actually goes down in Italy.

“Players will find a way to play. They always do. So I think we have to rely on the entertainment aspect of our offering. And while short term this ban is of course a headache, long term I think it will be good for our industry.

“Relying on discounts is not the way we should be doing things. Let’s focus on the entertainment value of what we do.”

Challenged on what some might consider to be a desire to be seen as disruptive, Kärrbrink repsonded:  “It’s not disruptive [to change the model] – it’s clever marketing.”

Red Tiger’s Hamilton concurred to an extent but urged caution with regard to the need for any major overhauls. “It’s worked well and will continue to work well. I take the point about entertainment but we also need to avoid turning the industry upside down,” he said.

The Summit concludes tomorrow.