Barcrest Casino Sites on Aspire Global
Barcrest are a small but perfectly formed casino software company that have been very much part of the gaming industry transfer market over the years. The company was founded in 1968, which makes them veterans in this infamously youthful industry, and with more than fifty years under their belt already, they have quite a few tales to tell and wounds to show for their efforts.
The company remain based in the Manchester area where they were first born all those years ago. Even today, Barcrest remain a relatively tiny, tight knit organisation. The company is responsible for the employment of fewer than fifty people, almost all of whom live in the north-west of England.
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Barcrest – Who They Are and Their History
Barcrest were originally focused on the real world casino gaming market, becoming one of the leading British manufacturers of cabinet games for land based casinos. The company’s early history was one of consistent growth, carving out a unique niche in the casino market and gaining the acclaim and attention of the industry as a whole.
The 1980s were a time of particular success, as Barcrest were at the forefront of the explosion of electronic and video game consoles which revolutionised the industry at the time. These were big cabinet versions of the console games which were taking the world by storm. Many of the Sega and Atari style computer console games of the era were ripe for conversion to amusement arcade style cabinets, with some machines even arriving in pubs as ‘coffee table’ style games to be played with a pint of beer at hand, or even on the table. Games such as Space Invaders, Donkey Kong and Super Mario Brothers were particularly popular.
The company’s success with electronic and console games put them in pole position to take advantage when computer, digital and online games became practical in the late 1990s. So much so that Barcrest became hot property. This became clear when several of the industry’s bigger operators began eyeing the company with a view to bringing them on board.
Toward the end of the 20th Century, it became clear to the established big name international gaming conglomerates that the industry was moving online, and it was in this area that the future growth of the gaming business was likely to be. The easiest way for the bigger companies to gain a slice of the action was to buy in the expertise, and Barcrest was the perfect option. With its heritage in the traditional cabinet making side of the industry, and its clear talent for the development of electronic and digital games, the company therefore became a major target for acquisition.
Bass PLC, the British brewery company was the first to spot the company’s potential. Its cabinets and consoles were perfect for its push to modernise the UK pub industry, and Barcrest manufactured games were at the forefront of the brewery’s attempts to encourage younger people back to its pubs and bars. Cribbage, Darts and Shove Ha’penny were out, replaced by the more profitable electronic cabinets and pool tables.
Next to snap up the Manchester firm were American slot machine manufacturers International Game Technology (IGT). They acquired Barcrest from Bass PLC in 1998 for around $70 million (about £40 million).
Again, it was the perfect purchase for the Las Vegas based conglomerate. Barcrest were the leading UK manufacturer of gaming machines in the UK, selling close to 40,000 machines in the UK and continental Europe over the previous year. The acquisition was the ideal way for IGT to expand its interests across the Atlantic. Plus it would leave the new larger company perfectly poised to take advantage of the rapidly expanding online gaming market too.
This new arrangement was ideal for both parties. IGT saw its profitability soar as it could leverage its own products into a whole new territory. Meanwhile, Barcrest could also increase its brand recognition and expand its business beyond its British and European heartlands into the international market – something it would have found difficult to do without the industrial muscle of its new owners. IGT saw the advantages of the acquisition, and largely left the plucky Mancunians to do what they do best – design great games.
Yet still the corporate musical chairs were not over. A further change of ownership arrived in 2011, when the Las Vegas based Scientific Games Group stepped in to acquire Barcrest in a complex performance based deal worth a total of around $65 million.
Once again, Barcrest was able to take full advantage of the financial muscle of a giant gaming conglomerate, while largely retaining its independence. In what seems like perfect synergy, Scientific Games produce few of their own actual online games, leaving bought-in subsidiaries like Barcrest to design their slots and other casino games for them. Scientific Games acquire the games design expertise, while Barcrest enjoy their masters’ industrial and financial influence and territorial reach.
At the time of writing, Barcrest remain under the wing of the Scientific Games Group. Given their promiscuous corporate history though, no-one can be sure for how long this profitable arrangement will last before another high value transfer of ownership is arranged…
Barcrest Slots and Casino Games
Barcrest may not be the best known games provider in the online casino business, but they have many top titles to their name. These include one of the best known slots around – a firm player favourite which has become an undoubted industry classic. Even if you are unaware of the brand, you will almost certainly know their games.
First released more than a decade ago, Rainbow Riches remains one of the most played slots to this day. The Irish Luck genre has always been one of the most popular themes, and Rainbow Riches would surely top any league of leprechaun loving games. The original format is a standard five reel, three row slot with up to twenty pay lines. It includes pretty much all the acclaimed totems of the genre, including Leprechauns, Rainbows, Shamrocks and Pots of Gold galore. It rapidly took the online gaming industry by storm.
Today, the original classic has spawned around a dozen sequels, all of which also have their own charm. There are too many to list them all, but include rejigs such as Reels of Gold, Leapin’ Leprechauns, Fortune Favours and Pick ‘n’ Mix. Plenty of these are available in progressive jackpot form, which can provide some truly awesome prizes.
The company have dozens more great slots in the locker, including classics like Action Bank, Cash Stax and Wipeout. Overall, Barcrest’s output tends toward the classic end of the spectrum, with spectacular graphics more likely to be found on its more contemporary rivals’ rosters than its own.
Nevertheless, it has a certain style of game which is unique to itself: a kind of Barcrest ‘personality’ if you like. I particularly enjoy their light-hearted, humorous games, such as Barkin’ Mad, Money Mad Martians and Ooh Aah Dracula. The company is also renowned for its officially licenced ‘Monopoly’ slots. These are a big hit with fans of the original board game and its many special editions. Barcrest incarnations of the classic game include Big Event, Bring the House Down and On the Money.
The plucky Brits have been very much a plaything of the gaming industry’s corporate giants over the years, but they have always managed to retain their independence and unique character. Still based around Manchester, they are not the most innovative or cutting edge of game producers, but they do remain one of the most popular.
Barcrest remain a leading designer and producer of real world casino cabinet games. Whilst wholly owned by the Scientific Games group, their comfortable position under the wing of one of the biggest names in the business will ensure that their brand and influence will continue for the foreseeable future.