Ice 2017: It’s the icing on the cake on final day at the ExCeL

Rob Mabbett: betting shop manager of the year

It's the icing on the cake on final day at the ExCeL
By Rob Mabbett 5:07PM 9 FEB 2017

Betting Shop Manager of the Year Rob Mabbett with the third of his daily diaries from the Ice exhibition at the ExCeL in London.

SO HERE we are – the Thursday of Ice – it's the third and final day.

I have to say that I held high expectations before I arrived from the comments from people who had attended previous years but there is no substitute for seeing it for yourself. The mix of people from all over the world and from all spectrums of the gaming industry create a wonderful melting pot of ideas, vision and enthusiasm you cannot help but get sucked in by!

A little overwhelming at first, you are soon made to feel welcome, by the second day I felt really at home and ventured into areas less associated with the betting shop. Everybody I met was keen to talk about what they do and I feel that my three days here have not only been fun, but a real education with lots of ideas and inspiration that I will take back into my role.

Informative Gambling App

I enjoyed a fascinating discussion with Pedro Romero and Elaine Smethurst from Gambling Therapy [also of Gordon Moody, a sister charity]. Their passion and commitment to responsible gambling was clearly evident. I strongly believe responsible gambling benefits the industry and it is great to see, as with the amazing tech at the Ice exhibition, support for problem gamblers has moved into the digital age.

A free app that can be downloaded both on Google and Apple offers features such as a self assessment questionnaire, multilingual support, motivation and self-help exercises, live text support, and crisis support information. For more information visit gamblingtherapy.org.

Busy times

Ice TV also caught up with me for an interview and I gave my account of the incredible technology and ideas on display, and the way the Racing Post stand acts as a centre point for the event, helping visitors make sense of all that is going on around as well as demonstrating their own innovations – including my own journey towards becoming Manager of the Year.

It's been a real privilege to be able to attend Ice. I have met some truly motivated people and I leave with tremendous excitement over what the future holds for the betting industry. My continued thanks to all at the Racing Post and SiS for these amazing opportunities and for making me feel welcome.

People at Ice have been asking me about the Betfred Super League, which kicked off Thursday night with a titanic clash between St Helens and Leeds.

Given I'm from the big rugby league town of Hull, 2016 Challenge Cup winners, there is bound to be a buzz in the betting shops there. 'C'mon you 'ull' is the catchphrase, but watch out for the entertaining Castleford Tigers to go well this year at 11-1 to win the Grand Final (win only, differing each-way terms) and 10-1 to be top of the league at the end of the regular season (23 games).

Busy times are ahead for myself as on March 7 I will be attending the Racing Post Juvenile at Central Park (presenting the trophy live on Sky Sports) followed by a busy four days at the Cheltenham Festival. On the opening Tuesday I will be there as a guest of the Racing Post, but also working on Betfred TV and doing a shift or two in the betting shop through the week, come and say hello if you are there!

Virgin London Marathon

In April I shall be running the London Marathon for mental health charity Mind and attending one of my all-time favourite sporting events the 2017 Betfred World Snooker Championships.

Ice proved an encouraging few days for my fundraising efforts too. Mark Stebbings and Mark Pearson from Betfred revealed that not only would Betfred sponsor me for £250 for the London Marathon but, in true bookmakers style, they will double their donation should I beat my target of four hours and 20 minutes. My thanks also to Alan Byrne and the Racing Post who have also donated £250, it means a lot . . . you've all just made me train twice as hard!

For more information and to show your support, please visit my fundraising page at virginmoneygiving.com/RobertMabbett

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