Million dollar makeover plans for Brighton Casino

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Established in 1970, Grosvenor Casinos are one of the largest chains of casinos in the United Kingdom with a network of over 50 locations across the UK and reported revenue in the hundreds of millions. As part of their latest strategy to increase the presence of their key locations, Grosvenor Chains has just unveiled plans to revitalise the casino’s Brighton complex. News of the revamp became public in late August 2019, and early estimates suggest that the makeover will cost a hefty £5.2m in total.

After the makeover is complete, the venue will be known as ‘Pier Nine’ and will transform the ageing Brighton venue into a 24/7 entertainment hub, complete with multiple floors of casino games, and a significantly updated and expanded bar and restaurant selection. Work on the venue is set to finish this December, with an official launch tentatively planned for some time in early 2020.

This is one of the largest investments in UK casinos to date, and the planned renovation is a significant vote of confidence by Grosvenor Casinos in the health of the industry. However, land casinos must still diversify their product offerings to slow down the loss of customers to online platforms. By offering a more rounded experience that includes food, drink, and general entertainment, Grosvenor Brighton is hoping to attract a new customer base who might not ordinarily choose the casino as their first port of call on a night out.

In many respects, the announcement comes somewhat unexpectedly as Grosvenor Casino’s parent company, The Rank Group, recently announced that footfall across its network of land casinos was significantly down. Preliminary results from the last 12 months suggest that revenue-generated offline has dropped by 2%, with an even greater drop amongst high rolling customers. In fact, this trend has long been underway, and Grosvenor Casinos has greatly expanded their online presence in recent years — which adds further fuel to the speculation about the redevelopment of the Brighton site.

With the rise of online casino gaming and the future of land-based casinos more uncertain than ever, it is unclear how this move fits into Grosvenor’s overall strategy of digitisation. Such a move seems explicable only as a way for them to attract a new crowd to casinos, rather than trying to coax online players back to the physical casino. Given that, the redeveloped Brighton site will focus as much on food, drinks, and non-gambling activities; this certainly seems to be the case.

Whether this move will pay off long-term is still unknown. With online gambling accounting for £5.3bn of the total £14.4bn revenue for the UK gambling industry, a figure which is up 12.8% from the previous year, it seems unclear what sort of future land-based casinos have in an increasingly digital space.

Featured image by Photo by Marcus Cramer on Unsplash

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