Barcrest was founded in Manchester. Its original MO was centred round the design and manufacture of analogue fruit machines. Serving the UK leisure gaming industry, the company forged a reputation for developing playable and addictive gambling games. Such was Barcrest’s success that it soon branched out into the amusements sector for UK and European markets. The 1980s, 90s and 00s saw continued growth as Barcrest expanded into digital gaming. By 1997, the North England outfit had become a market leader with its presence entrenched in Britain’s public social establishments. At this point the company had produced and sold over 35,000 terminals.
Despite the continuous strides made in online casino gaming, there have been a number of behind-the-scene changes. In 1998, gaming behemoth IGT (International Gaming Technology) bought out the company for a sum of £42 million to increase their European exposure, though slot games continued to be produced under the Barcrest name.
The most iconic online slot released during this period was undoubtedly Rainbow Riches. Produced by the company’s talented in-house production team, this legendry title helped increase the brand’s notoriety even further.
Then, in 2011 IGT sold Barcest to Scientific Games for the comparatively paltry sum of £35 million. To this day it continues to operate as part of the Scientific Games network, which includes other highly visible slot developers like WMS (Williams Interactive) and Bally Technologies.
Best Barcrest Casino Content
Rainbow Riches, Barcrest’s primary cash cow, has now been spun into a variety of different slots and games. The original Rainbow Riches slot remains unaltered but it now shares the limelight with numerous variants including Rainbow Riches: Reels of Gold, Pick and Mix, Rainbow Riches: Leapin Leprechauns and Rainbow Riches Free Spins. Leapin Leprechauns wins the award for being the most surreal variation. Although a fixed odds game, it cleverly offers an illusion of skill as you guide a leaping Leprechaun through the clouds, leaping from floating islands, much like a Super Mario game.
Other original titles include the Thai Flower slot, Legend of the Pharaohs, Action Bank, Ooh Aah Dracula, and Arabian Charms.
Since the Scientific Games takeover, the company remains somewhat in flux. In 2013, it was announced that SG would be conducting a strategic review that would lead to a change of focus and the potential loss of jobs. SG also revealed that it would stop manufacturing the fruit machines and gaming terminals that Barcrest had become so famous for, to instead focus on online video slots and server-based gaming. To this end, SG acquired Global Draw in 2006 – a server-based system that allows gaming terminals to be networked across the world.
More recently, SG Gaming has expanded its product portfolio to include a new gaming terminal called Riviera. Available to UK online casinos, it features an HD multigame menu as well as a suite of jackpot slot games offering jackpots of up to £10,000. Some of these games include Spartacus, Rainbow Riches Posts of Gold and Black Night.
Popular Slot Games
Read on as we now take a look at some of the most popular and addictive Barcrest online slots.
Arabian Charms was released in October of 2014 and is a five-reel slot with twenty pay-lines. It includes two bonus features: the Golden Trail Bonus and the Arabian Charms Mystery Win Bonus. The golden trail is activated by landing three Genie icons and requires the player to spin a wheel to determine how far up the trail he moves. The Arabian charms bonus feature is triggered at random and is signified by a Genie, which replaces symbols to form winning combinations.
Boulder Bucks is a more recent Barcrest slot game having launched in 2016. Comprising a prehistoric theme, the game follows a standard five-reel format and has ten pay-lines. It also offers several free spin bonus rounds including a side-game in which the player must choose dinosaur eggs, some of which contain multiplier bonuses. Although there aren’t as many pay-lines as Arabian Charms, Boulder Bucks offers a higher return to player percentage as well as more elaborate gameplay.
Call of Fruity
Call of Fruity offers a playful take on the hit video game, Call of Duty and makes use of five reels as well as ten pay-lines. There are three bonus features: the Pick Me Bonus Round, Bombsight Bonus and the Fly-By Bonus. Of these three features, the Pick Me Bonus occurs most frequently and allows you to activate the Bombsight Bonus by landing pineapple grenade symbols on reels 1, 3 and 5 of the same spin. But it’s the Fly-By game that generates the biggest wins of all and is unlocked after landing three aeroplane bonus symbols. Naturally, this occurs less frequently than the other side-games.
Barcrest’s Crown Gems slot follows a standard five-reel format and has ten pay lines. Released in 2016, game-play is fast-paced and includes colourful visuals. However, despite the sleek presentation, there are no bonus rounds to speak of. Nevertheless, this particular slot can be played with a mere 10p stake which makes it accessible to players of all budgets.
Dr. Jekyll Goes Wild
Based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s epic horror story, Dr. Jekyll Goes Wild is a standard 5×3 slot game. Symbols include a deserted London Street, Big Ben, murky street lamps and the good doctor himself. Should three to five scatter symbols appear on the reels, up to 20 free spins then become available. There’s also a Big Bet bonus that unlocks specific features should the player stake at least £20.
Emperor’s Gold is another popular Barcrest Slot that’s based on Chinese folklore. Like some of the company’s most successful titles, the game fuses simple game-play with polished visuals to create a highly-playable online slot. Typically, it consists of five reels and the usual ten pay-lines. Like Dr Jekyll, the Big Bet feature is available which grants the player five linked spins for higher stakes.
Flame of Fortune
Flame of Fortune consists of the same format as most Barcrest slots – namely a five reel, 3-row base game with 10 fixed pay-lines. In addition to the standardised Big Bet feature, the slot also includes a bonus game called Fortune Drop. This gets triggered by landing five golden symbols and leads to a mini-game in which the player must match a string of symbols to win cash.
Golden Chief also features five-reels but with the addition of up to one hundred potential pay-lines. Based on Native American culture, this particular online slot title boasts a variety of bonus features such as the Cash Canyon, Totem Riches and a Free Spins side game. As is the case with Arabian Charms, the Cash Canyon mini-game requires the player to travel as far as possible on a trail to earn higher bonuses. For the Totem Riches feature, the player must climb totem poles to win multipliers.
Barcrest’s flag-ship online slot game is renowned for its simple but addictive game-play. There are three unique bonus rounds: the Road to Riches, the Wishing Well and the Pots of Gold Bonus. For the Road to Riches feature, players must spin a wheel to determine their progress along a path. The further they get, the bigger the payout. The Wishing Well round is a simple ‘pick me’ game in which the participant has to pick one of three wells with the goal of revealing a cash value. The Pots of Gold game is similar and consists of thee spinning pots – the player must choose one to reveal a multiplier.
The Thai Flower slot game has become massively popular both online and off. Found in pubs and betting establishments across the UK, game-play is actually pretty basic with five reels and ten pay-lines. Although it’s devoid of any bonus features, it does include a free spin game that’s activated by landing three Lotus icons. Despite the game being of a medium variance, you’ve got the chance to win up to 210 times your stake – this is perhaps why the game is so widely played.
Best Barcrest Casinos
Thus far SG’s modernisation strategy has succeeded with the Barcrest brand still very much visible in the online casino sector. Although much of this is due to the enormous success of the Rainbow Riches franchise, being able to enjoy continued recognition and exposure in such a tumultuous industry is no mean feat.
Now that the majority of gambling revenues are generated by the online sector and the mobile/smart-phone craze continues to dictate the industry’s direction, Barcrest will hope to use its considerable experience to forge new paths into the future.