The land-based casino industry has undergone unprecedented changes in the past ten years. The introduction of smart technologies coupled with the internet has revolutionised the sector to such a degree that the majority of gamers now use their mobile phones to gamble. As with the bingo playing vertical, a lot of smaller independent establishments have struggled, with many closing their doors altogether. Birmingham’s Star City is a fairly typical example.
This isn’t of course the first time that bricks and mortar establishments have faced exterior pressures. Since their creation in the eighteenth century, casino proprietors have had to endure plenty of challenges including regulatory interference and industry monopolisation. Nevertheless, by the early twenty first century, the casino sector was thriving. Then things changed.
The Internet Revolution
The advent of the internet in the late 1990s was to have an enormous impact on the traditional gambling industry. Although changes weren’t immediate, the introduction of faster connection speeds, better design techniques and smart technologies heralded an enormous shift in gambler behaviour.
Writing on the Wall?
The first successful online casinos appeared in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Although primitive by today’s high standards, they were secure and allowed players to gambling cheaply from their desktops. Players also had access to an expansive range of online casino slots and computer based table games.
Then in 2005, the first live casino platforms were introduced. For the first time, gamblers could enjoy the excitement of authentic casino gaming from the comfort of their own home. The general assumption around this time was that land-based casinos were finished. But it hasn’t really worked out that way.
Birmingham – Casino Capital of Europe
In spite of the proliferation of new online slots sites and casino platforms, the demand for land-based play remains relatively strong, especially in Birmingham. In fact the city was recently named Casino Capital of Europe following a study. So it seems that for many, the unique ambience of a typical bricks-and-mortar establishment just can’t be matched by a casino website, no matter how impressive its live dealer suite might be.
Embracing the Web
Many modern land-based venues now embrace web technologies, albeit to varying degrees. Some provide floor-space to specialists such as Evolution to broadcast live dealer games. Then there are providers that have launched fully-fledged online casinos to complement their land-based offering.
The latter approach is proving extremely lucrative for certain operators. And it’s easy to see why. What better way to promote your land-based establishment than by providing punters with an online version that’s populated by an extensive suite of slots and casino games? Here’s a pair of enormously Birmingham casinos that have used this strategy to great effect.
Genting Casino, Resorts World, Chinatown, Edgbaston
In addition to a Birmingham branch, Genting has more than 40 bricks and mortar venues across the UK as well as a few overseas. Originally located at Star City, Genting moved its Birmingham operations to Resorts World then opened two more casinos in Chinatown and Edgbaston. Its online platform features more than 3000 big-brand slots and a highly-rated live dealer suite. The decision to drop sports betting in favour of casino gaming, as well as a major migration to the SkillOnNet platform in 2021 has enhanced the brand even further.
Grosvenor Casino, Broad Street, Hill Street
Grosvenor has a long and illustrious history in casino gaming that stretches back to 1937. It operates two venues in Birmingham. In 2007, some seventy years after its land-based launch, the company unveiled its official website – so it’s something of an early adopter when it comes to iGaming. The website is extremely popular among players thanks to partnerships with major game providers including Playtech, NetEnt, Microgaming and Novomatic. Online membership provides fast track entry into all of Grosvenor’s casinos. Customers can also transfer funds between the website and any venue, gaining instant access to cash funds.
So despite the continued growth of online gambling (looming gambling regulations notwithstanding), with the proper use of web technologies, there’s no doubt that land-based operators have a great opportunity to enhance their brand exposure both online and off for the foreseeable future.