My fellow IMGL members,
It has been a challenging year for everyone and the IMGL is no exception. We have postponed and rescheduled both 2020 Spring and Fall conferences, our G2E reception and now our 2021 Spring conference in Athens. While these decisions have been difficult, they are the right decisions to protect the health of our members and guests.
Adversity can make an organization weaker or stronger depending upon how it reacts to that adversity. I am proud to say that the IMGL has taken the opportunity to branch out and create new programming to continue to bring value to our members and our mission. Just last month, the IMGL had its first virtual conference. Over three days in November, more than 15 hours of programming across 12 panels brought timely discussions on the effects of the pandemic on the gaming industry, the role of diversity in gaming, the ongoing saga of sports betting and so much more. The virtual conference was attended by over 180 attendees (both IMGL and NON IMGL members), which is a record for an IMGL conference. Thank you to each and everyone of you who attended and participated.
We also provided IMGL Masterclass webinars starting in May and going throughout the year. These webinars offered topics relevant to all points on the globe starting with developing a pandemic response for the gaming industry, to sports data rights, and tribal gaming developments. These IMGL Masterclasses will continue after the new year as we go into 2021. Please let us know if you have topics that you suggest be covered.
The IMGL also provided IMGL Masterclasses, virtually, with NCLGS, Clarion via ICE North America and ICE Africa, and the Asia Gaming Expo. We are working with a number of the same partners and other new partners to expand the opportunity to share our members’ expertise with other audiences on other platforms. Please let us know if you are interested in participating or know of an upcoming online event.
As I noted, while 2020 was challenging the IMGL is coming out of it stronger and better than ever before. We have so much already planned for 2021.
To start with, the first IMGL mini-conference will be in January in Florida. This event will be for those who are willing to travel for a short program consisting of two panels, a business meeting and then a dinner with the attendees. All recommended social distancing and local health requirements will be followed. I firmly believe that the greatest harm to the mission of the IMGL has been the inability to meet in person to discuss ideas, trends, issues and just to catch up. No electronic format can substitute for in person interaction. This mini-conference and the ensuing mini-conferences in different regions on a roughly monthly basis, will allow us to safely begin the return to normal.
While we are unfortunately going to have to postpone our Spring conference in Athens, I hope you will find the mini-conferences will be a bridge to our Fall conference in Boston. This will be a joint conference with the International Association of Gaming Regulators (the IAGR) and will last a full week in September. Please mark your calendars from September 12-17, 2021. In 2022, we will go to Seattle and London and we are already planning events for 2023, so please send us your recommendations!
In lieu of the Spring conference in Athens, we will use the same week for our 2nd virtual conference, March 8-12. Based upon feedback, we will space out the panels over a full week and again make sure that panels are in times that work for our members across the world. Please send us panel topics and let us know if you would like to moderate or speak. This is only 3 months away!!
Please send articles, short and long, for our IMGL newsletter. We want to send out your news to all our members and keep everyone in the IMGL up-to-date on developments in every jurisdiction.
Thank you for your membership in the IMGL and your continued service to the IMGL. There is no doubt that we are so much better together and that the IMGL continues to be the pre-eminent global organization of gaming lawyers. Happy New Year to one and all, and I look forward to seeing you in 2021.