Barcrest Software Casinos Canada
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 the best 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.
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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 Canadian 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.
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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.