While, “Bulgaria – the technology hub of the Balkans” was the slogan for the 10th anniversary Balkan Entertainment & Gaming Expo that concluded on Thursday, the folk ensemble “Chinary” greeted visitors with Bulgarian folk dances, music, and songs. The highly talented troupe visited the US with their critically acclaimed ‘World E – Motion‘ and ‘Bulgaria se artistica‘ in 2004 and 2005 and are known in cultural circles and by music and dance societies the world over.

More than 5,000 gaming industry professionals from more than 20 countries and representing over 80 companies were greeted with Balkan hospitality as they set out on two days of participation in the leading Eastern European gaming exposition created by the Bulgarian Trade Association of Manufacturers and Operators in the Gaming Industry (BTAMOGI) and strongly supported by the Bulgarian State Commission on Gambling.

Visitors included representatives from the UK, Italy, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and the USA as well as Georgia and Cyprus.

Transitioning from a warm and ageless welcome into a vibrant business event, the slogan’s importance became apparent with an exhibition titled, “In the world of the Bulgarian discoverers and inventors”, which highlighted the accomplishments of innovators in the past and ushered visitors into the new Innovation Zone where visitors were exposed to cutting-edge technologies from top industry thought and product leaders including Ainsworth, Casino Technology, Innovative Technology, JPL, Novomatic and many others.

The cloud-enabled service robot, Sanbot, greeted visitors at the opening ceremonies and provided a good-natured catalyst which kept the mood light and conducive to business throughout the two-day show. A beauty contest was held and Miss Gaming BEGE 2017 was selected at the evening BEGE party from among contestants representing some of Bulgaria’s biggest operators. Admiral Casinos’ Alexandra Peyovich, a graduated economist and intellectual powerhouse in her own right received the crown.

Day two kicked off with the official BEGE Awards ceremony. Earning top honors for achievements in excellence and special contributions to the industry were Abbiati, Advansys, Alberici, Bet3000, BetConstruct, Intergames (with Konami), Interblock, Novomatic, NYX Gaming Group, Zitro, and several others.

Another novel feature at this year’s show was the Gaming StartUp Challenge which allowed young entrepreneurs and innovative industry disruptors to introduce their products and ideas. Zebra Digital received top honors from the jury headed up by Casino Technology executive director, Ivan Tzankarsky.

AI innovator, Football Chat AI of Macedonia took second place for their product which generates football betting tips using artificial intelligence. Rounding out the top three was Incineration Productions being recognized for their dark fantasy action-adventure game set in a unique world brimming with its own mythology and characters.

The event concluded with a traditional roundtable that saw representatives of the Bulgarian State Commission on Gambling in poignant discussion with several operators, giving attendees insights into the Eastern European and especially Balkan gaming industry including challenges, solutions, and opportunities.

With a footfall of more than 5,000 industry professionals, the 10th edition of BEGE exceeded all expectations and cemented the expo’s position as the preeminent gaming expo in Eastern Europe. The organizers have informed that the floor plan for next year’s show is almost fully booked. To learn more about BEGE please visit http://www.balkangamingexpo.com/