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CR88-p28&29-Comment:SJC-Casino Review 21/1/10 18:56 Page 2
internationalcasinoreview
Entertainment for
the masses is the
best way forward
With a schizophrenic public that sees casinos either as the epitome
of elegant sophistication or as grubby dens for addicts, the industry
needs to push its development into entertainment centres for grown-
ups across the whole range of operations, says Hugh Sorrill.
peoplepower new lease of life by injecting bling just for its own sake is
COMMENT PIECE the ‘ne plus ultra’ of modern discouraged: it puts players at
styling, modern food and greater risk and does the indus-
modern music. Or Viage, try’s image little good. Gam-
which opens in Brussels in bling as just one entertainment
February, where so much is among many, however, is an
going on in addition to gaming entirely different prospect.
that the word casino is no And even local casinos can go
longer a full enough descrip- down that track by offering
tion to put over the door. In good food and good music no
Lille, the much-anticipated matter what their size - in most
extension to Lucien Barrière’s places legislation puts up no
estate will open next month barriers.
with theatres, bars, restaurants In addition to the political
Tradition is a strong factor in and, of course a casino; and argument there is an eco-
the European gaming indus- this follows on from previous nomic one, too. Casinos have
try. There is no doubt that projects in the same vein, such traditionally offered gambling
venues where the old forms as the Casino Théâtre de entertainment exclusively to a
continue are fascinating; there Toulouse. These places might very few. As the European
is great escapism in obeying all appeal to modern tastes industry has found in the
the formal codes of dress and but there is one thing they do course of the economic crisis,
behaviour (if only for a night) inherit from the best tradi- too narrow a customer base
of another age. There will tions of the past: elegance. means that casinos have been
always be room for one or two These casinos are, of disproportionately affected
traditional European-style course, at the top of the scale, when money becomes
casinos. where serious money has scarcer. A few people spend-
But tradition isn’t what is been invested. However, there ing lots each is good in the
once was. In the modern age are a great many casinos where short term but that can easily
people want entertainment the style both of décor and of disappear. Lots of people
on their terms - and, except in operation is tired: these are spending less each might be
the more specialist pastimes, the places most often cited by harder work but if some
a strict dress code is not on politicians who claim casino people or some of their spend-
the list. Casinos are part of the gambling destroys the fabric ing power disappears, the
entertainment industry and of society. Gambling is, of effect is mitigated by volume.
in order to establish their course, at the core of the Sustainability is the one tradi-
appeal to new generations, casino business, but the politi- tion that everyone would like
they have to offer what the cal reality is that allowing gam- to see established.
new generations want.
At any gathering of indus-
try professionals in Europe,
sooner or later someone will
say that casinos must broaden
their appeal. It is a message
that several operators have
understood and, where
allowed, have put into prac-
tice.
Every month more and
more entertainment-focused
venues open: take Holland
Casino Rotterdam, for
example, where a 20-year-old
casino has been given a huge
GAMING OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OFFICIAL
AWARDS PUBLICATION
2008
WINNER
http://www.eelex.com
http://www.gaming-awards.com
http://www.europeancasinoassociation.org
OFFICIAL EUROPEAN MEDIA PARTNER
MEDIA PARTNER
http://www.agem.org http://www.ige-exhibition.com
February 2010 • comment 29
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