Picture a casino, and you’ll probably imagine a glamorous, opulent space where well-dressed high rollers are sipping whisky as they gamble on the turn of a card playing on poker in Toronto or The Strip in Vegas.
The media portrayal of the casino is pretty apt – whether you go to Las Vegas or Macao. Going to the casino is an event that most people wont have the opportunity to do very often, but it is always a special occasion when you can get dressed up and immerse yourself in the experience.
Casinos have a long and storied history, with gambling of some form happening since the very earlies human civilisations. Casinos as we know them now are a relatively modern version of gaming rooms that existed in Roman times, but there have been huge changes that casinos have had to deal with.
From strict rules and regulations to reduced footfall for many reasons, casinos have had to grow and develop to continue trading.
What Has Changed?
The first problem that the land-based casino has had to deal with is the growth of technology, and specifically the internet.
Online casinos have brought the experience of poker and slots into people’s homes, and they no longer need to even get dressed to play their favourite games. The draw of online, with easier access, has been the biggest impact on land-based casino attendance.
So, how are brick-and-mortar casinos reacting and growing? They need to pivot their offering to make sure they are remaining relevant, and in many cases the only way to survive is to diversify.
Get Involved with Online
While many of the online casinos that are available are not affiliated with land-based casinos (they are separate companies), there are some grand casino companies who have developed an omnichannel experience.
As well as developing an online presence to advertise their brick-and-mortar services, some casinos are moving their games to become available to players online. This means that you can get involved in the games that you would find on the floor while you are still at home.
Part of this is the adoption of video and virtual reality technology, which can virtually transport online players into the poker room at their favourite casino, with live dealers and a feel for the real thing.
Of course, to make the most of this, the casinos offer loyalty and reward schemes, such as points earned playing online that can translate into physical prizes when they visit the casino such as free drinks or VIP access.
Despite the ease of access available with online casinos, nothing beats the reality of a visit to a casino – and that is why Las Vegas casinos feature on so many bucket lists even today.
Casino tourism is the phrase used for people travelling to certain places just to experience the casino. The obvious location for this is Vegas, of course, but other places like Macao and Monaco are also on the list.
Casino tourists might be honeymooners or bachelor parties, they can be big birthday celebration, or conferences.
Providing a fabulous experience for players is just what casinos need to do to survive.
More than Just a Casino
This is an extension of the ‘casino tourism’ idea – making visiting the casino about more than just playing a few games.
To become a destination, casinos need to offer more than card rooms and slot machines.
Firstly, the surroundings must be something really special. Players expect luxury and opulence to be their surroundings when they are in a casino, and they want to be in the midst of people who are well-dressed and refined. Décor and aesthetics are only part of this though – there needs to be a strict dress code as well as rules for behaviour.
Next, the player needs must be met in a way that exceeds expectations. This means extensive bar options so they don’t need to wait for a drink, and the opportunity to indulge in some really good food of different types.
The games available should cater for everyone. From sports betting to slots, high-stakes poker to baccarat, the more choice available for players the better.
Finally, entertainment. The best casinos are able to provide some sort of entertainment for their guests throughout the evening, whether that is some sort of cabaret, a show, or something more intimate like table magicians.
The Hippodrome in London is the perfect example of a casino with added experience. Already in a stunning listed building in the heart of the city, the Hippodrome offers fine dining, rooftop bar, and games on three floors, as well as the award-winning show Magic Mike for patrons to enjoy. Their conference spaces are offered for free to local businesses and community groups, while they cater for high-end parties and business groups with bespoke entertainment, casino, and meeting packages.