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Barcrest Casinos

Barcrest are one of the biggest British gaming success stories out there. Ever since 1968, Barcrest have been designing and bringing to life gaming terminals in Britain’s Bingo halls, arcades, casinos and, of course, pubs. Although the transition from the physical into the digital online era has not always been smooth for the company, some of their titles have managed to cement themselves as online casino staples. Even if you’ve never heard of Barcrest, there’s no doubt that you are aware of their most successful slot, the inimitable Rainbow Riches.

Background

Barcrest was founded in Manchester, maintaining a constant presence in the North West of England to this day with a head office in Ashford-under-Lyne. They soon became the UK’s largest fruit machine distributer, innovating the form in the 1980s with the introduction of board game style bonus rounds. The 3 bonus rounds in Rainbow Riches, Road to Riches, Wishing Well and Pots of Gold exemplify the ways in which Barcrest invigorated the humble fruit machine. By 1997, Barcrest was the gaming machine market leader with its presence entrenched in Britain’s public social establishments. In 1997, the company produced and sold over 35,000 terminals

In recent times, Barcrest has been at the mercy of various takeovers. At times, the ping-pong back and forth has reached almost farcical levels. In 1998, gaming behemoth IGT (International Gaming Technology) bought out Barcrest for a sum of £42 million to increase their European exposure, though content continued to be produced under the Barcrest name.

In 2011, IGT then sold Barcest to Scientific Games for the comparatively paltry £35 million. Barcrest to this day is part of the Scientific Games umbrella, which includes other highly visible slot developers like WMS (Williams Interactive) and Bally Technologies.

Barcrest Content

Rainbow Riches, Barcrest’s primary cash cow, has now been spun into a variety of different slots and games. Rainbow Riches, the original slot, remains but it shares the limelight with 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 it is a fixed odds game, there is an illusion of skill as you guide your leaping Leprechaun to the clouds, leaping from floating islands like in a Super Mario game.

Other original Barcrest titles include the Thai Flower slot, Legend of the Pharaohs, Action Bank, Ooh Aah Dracula, and Arabian Charms.

What’s Next?

Since the Scientific Games takeover, the company remains somewhat in flux. In 2013, it was announced that SG was conducting a strategic review of the business that would lead to a change of focus and the potential loss of jobs. SG said they were to 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, with slots connected to digital networks.

So far this modernisation has succeeded, with Barcrest’s online visibility (thanks a great deal to the Rainbow Riches franchise) still impressive in an ever changing industry. Now that the majority of gambling revenues come from the online sector, and the mobile/smartphone age continues to shape the industry’s direction, Barcrest will hope to use their great experience to forge new paths into the future.

To find online casinos that feature Barcrest slots, search here.

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