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B2B 19 The Bookmakers’ Trade Fair THE ORGANISER

Lesley Sharman (left) pictured at the BOS Magazine Maiden Stakes at Yarmouth 2008


ABB looks to spread the word


Organiser concentrates on building on successful foundations

Speaking to Alex Lee, show organiser Lesley Sharman from BOS revealed the strategies and objectives underpinning this year’s Bookmakers Trade Fair at Wolverhampton racecourse.


hat will be the best new fea- tures of The Bookmakers Trade Fair?

This year there are more ex-

hibitors and new companies attending, in- cluding Turf TV, 2DB, RT Contracts, VSPN and BuzzBet. We are hoping to make it the networking event of the year for book- makers. GTech G2 will be running an in- ternet café. The FOBT market has record- ed the most growth in terms of stand space booked.

Why did you choose Wolverhampton as the venue for this year’s event? Wolverhampton Racecourse is an easy lo- cation for most people, the free parking is a huge benefit, and the staff go out of their way to help. The evening racing makes the whole day a good day out. Having a hotel on site also means that people can so- cialise without the worry of driving home.

What type of catering will be avail- able? GTech G2 is running an internet café, the bar is open from 10.30am and the Pad- dock Grill will be serving snacks and bev- erages all day. There is an evening recep- tion with Bucks Fizz and buffet for 120 to be enjoyed while watching the evening

racing. Exhibitors were given the oppor- tunity to buy a table for 10 guests - this proved so successful that the tables sold out within two days.

What feedback did you have from last year’s exhibition?

The overall feedback from last year was not to change anything - exhibitors thought it worked extremely well and bookmakers got to talk on a one-to-one basis with industry bodies. Bookmaker Steve Samuels from Joe Jennings said it was ideal for the independent. Some of the comments from exhibitors showed that it was also successful for them. SIS’ Helen Scott, for example, said she hoped it would be the first of many trade fairs as the feedback they received from both cus- tomers and fellow exhibitors was that it really did provide what the industry was looking for. She also felt it was far more re- laxing, intimate and beneficial to all in- volved.

What’s your number one considera- tion - exhibitors or visitors? Exibitors and visitors are of equal impor- tance, but there is no point in running the event unless the bookmakers attend. I want this to be thought of as their event.


From humble

beginnings... R

ather than simply lament the demise of the annual Betting Show at Birmingham’s NEC, BOS Magazine organised the first Bookmakers Trade Fair, a one-day event held at Wolverhampton’s Dunstall Park Racecourse on Thursday 15 October, 2009.

As show organiser Lesley Sharman put it: “Betting industry insiders had already pencilled in the 14th and 15th October for the year’s Betting Show when it was announced that the event would be relocated to Earls Court in January and held alongside IGE and ATEI.”

The intimate atmosphere means that they can address problems, questions and queries to GamCare, the Gambling Com- mission, IBA and ABB, with the culmina- tion of the day being the Twilight racing and the chance to relax, network and meet with their fellow bookmakers. We’ll make sure that the exhibitors have all that they require and that the bookmakers attend.

What will you do in the build-up and during the show itself?

I will be there helping with the build–up, which this year is being done by TV and Video Direct using e2 modular units. Earli- er this year, BOS made the commitment to the trade fair, by buying all the compo- nents that make up the stands. We want the trade fair to become a regular date in the calendar of the bookmakers.

What are your long term plans for the show?

If the show becomes more popular then we may reluctantly have to move to a larg- er venue, but I know plans for large expan- sion at Wolverhampton is in the pipeline - so it would be really good to stay. This event is totally for the bookmakers and BOS is happy to address any changes that they would like to see.

The event was an intimate affair, although a number of the UK betting industry’s big hitters exhibited. Stands were set up in the Ringside Suite so that independent bookmakers and others with an interest in the industry could talk on a face-to-face basis with industry professionals from the leading trade bodies. Last year there were 15 exhibitors, which has risen to 21 this year, and 120 visitors came through the door. Show organiser Lesley Sharman hopes that visitor figures will grow this year.



he ABB’s senior executive Tom Kenny believes that there is no substitute for “face time” with its members and prospective members, and that the Bookmakers Trade Fair provides a great opportunity to get some in. Kenny explained: “Unlike most other trade shows, the format of the Bookmakers Trade Show is focussed specifically on UK betting shop operators. The Show’s central location in Wolverhampton with plenty of on-site parking and accommodation makes it accessible to smaller scale operators for whom a day or two out of the office might otherwise be difficult to manage.”

Kenny and his colleagues from the ABB will be looking to capitalise on the opportunity to listen to betting shop operators’ concerns and priorities, and how they need the ABB as the industry’s leading trade association to respond to them. That could mean in terms of the portfolio of services that the ABB provides to members, the lobbying activities that it carries out on their behalf, or both. He added: “There should be plenty of fun once the show itself is over, with twilight racing at Wolverhampton’s all- weather track again directly on-site at the show venue.”

Kenny believes that the betting industry has always been characterised by change and innovation. “I’m looking forward to seeing what the industry’s suppliers have got new in terms of products and technology. We expect major suppliers like SIS and The Global Draw to pull out all the stops on an occasion like this, but there is always a chance that a smaller supplier will pitch up with an offering that makes you wish you’d thought of it yourself.” ABB’s senior executive is expecting a record turn-out from betting shop operators this year. He told Betting Business interactive: “Last year’s event was extremely well-received by attendees and word has spread on the industry grapevine.”

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