Continuing to ensure that brick and mortar casinos remain appealing to punters is a challenging facing many organisations, one such example operating in the United Kingdom is Genting.
Previously stressing that “we give our players what they want in a great environment,” a number of renovations have been carried out recently across its property estate to ensure that this remains the case.
CasinoBeats spoke to Jim Firth, general manager at Genting Casino Westcliff (above), who was recently appointed into the role, to discuss the rising tide of online gaming, how Genting plans to buck the trend and what he has up his sleeve to continue the growth of Genting Westcliff.
Congratulations on the recent appointment, how are you to ensure the growth of Genting Westcliff?
Thank you very much. Firstly I’d like to say that I am delighted to have been appointed as general manager for Genting Casino Westcliff. It is a hugely successful business that has become a landmark destination for gamers and leisure customers alike.
What impresses me most about the business is the seamless marriage of a really strong live gaming offer, great hospitality, best in class slots and electronic product and the highest quality entertainment I have experienced in a UK casino.
“We are an industry that is now more accessible that ever”
For me, growing business is about engaging inspiring and empowering your best people to deliver amazing results. We have some really talented people in Genting Westcliff and I’m looking forward to seeing them unlock the extra potential they have.
How much does last year’s multi-million pound revamp help?
It helps a great deal. We operate in a highly competitive market that is complex and consistently changing. Our guests are sophisticated and much more sensitive to their surroundings and have expectations about the quality of their experience.
Furthermore, guest feedback is delivered instantly through social media, specifically Instagram, so having a spectacular looking casino is a big deal. It keeps us relevant, competitive and current.
Drawing upon almost 30 years industry experience, how have the industry changed during your career?
We are an industry that is now more accessible that ever. The barriers to entry for new guests have been removed, so it is now possible to enjoy the whole casino experience without having to wait 48/24 hours to join or become a member.
“The industry has recognised the importance of supporting local community and charity endeavours”
Longevity and sustainability are a key factor that drive the success of our business and as an industry, we have adapted to an environment where socially responsible practices are now the norm.
The industry has recognised the importance of supporting local community and charity endeavours, and this is something we are particularly proud of in Genting Casinos.
Finally, guest experience has improved exponentially. Deregulation in 2002 opened the doors for entertainment in UK casinos and a number of larger operators, excited by the Budd Report and subsequent 2005 gaming act experimented with opening large destination Casinos.
These large licenses rewrote the rulebook and as a result, the industry continues to remain competitive by searching out the electronic best products, new and innovative hospitality and entertainment and great people to deliver the service standards.
“To continue to perform well in this current climate there is no doubt that ongoing investment into our casinos is key”
How would you assess the performance of the wider Genting UK group in the current climate?
For Genting UK to continue to perform well in this current climate there is no doubt that ongoing investment into our casinos is key. In the last 12 months we have carried out extensive renovations to several of our casinos including; Palm Beach Mayfair, Luton, Cromwell Mint, The Colony Club and Westcliff.
As well as this, we have been investing heavily in our online gaming offering, and we have seen a very positive response from our customers to new launches such as our unique dual play system.
There’s a rising tide of online gaming taking hold across the world, how much of a threat is this to brick and mortar establishments?
Online gaming has been available to UK residents since 2005 and there is no doubt that internet gaming has claimed a significant chunk of total gaming wallet as well as unique online players.
“Bricks and mortar gaming has adapted by becoming much more experiential and service driven”
However, bricks and mortar gaming has adapted by becoming much more experiential and service driven as a result. Ultimately there will always be a market for the player who enjoys face to face participation and quite often, that same player may also enjoy a flutter online.
We understand that world of gaming is changing and as a result we innovate by offering players who have online accounts with us a cashing out service, that allows them to withdraw their online winnings in our bricks and mortar casinos.
What plans/initiatives are to be put in place by both yourself and Genting UK to ensure that people are drawn to these properties?
We have a really strong set of values in Genting Casinos that underpin how we do business. We believe that these values help us understand our customers and their needs, drive us to be the best we can be and develop and empower our people to deliver an awesome experience.
Customers in 2019 are more sophisticated than ever and have a minimum expectation around product, experience and service. We recognise this and constantly review our offer in order to exceed those expectations.
We also recognise that each casino is quite unique and one size doesn’t always fit all. To this end, a degree of ‘local flair’ is encouraged in our businesses that may take the form of specialised local dishes on the menu or an important community initiative that requires support. This approach differentiates us from the rest of the market and ultimately encourages people to be drawn to our properties.