9 March, 2022

Casino of the year

Gambling Insider is pleased to announce this year’s selection of competitors for the returning Casino of the year Award.

The time has come. Following the suspension of this prestigious Award last year, due to land-based casinos being hit particularly hard during the Covid-19 pandemic. The rise of the Casino is once more! So, hello there 2022, and all hail this year’s nominees…

The Hippodrome Casino takes a wack at the top spot as our first nominee for the year, and is quite possibly the only casino in the UK to have seen lockdown and curfew as an opportunity. The Hippodrome began and completed some of the property’s biggest infrastructure projects to date by putting in a rooftop terrace during the first wave of the pandemic and investing an initial £3m. This was quickly followed by creating an entirely new casino floor ‘The Gods’ and completing a new entrance in advance of a brand new Asian eatery, bar and ticket office linking to two newly-acquired properties within the Hippodrome’s already-substantial footprint in Leicester Square, London.

With big shoes to fill, but a great ability to fill them nonetheless, Société des Bains de Mer (Casino de Monte-Carlo) is an integral option in our selection. In these challenging times, the Casino shared a long-term vision building on its heritage, stimulating creativity and excellence. The company maintained ties with its clients, offering an exceptional events program throughout the year to choose Monte-Carlo. In 2021, doors never closed thanks to a major safety program for clients, staff and partners.

Turnover achieved by Holland Casino in H1 2021 showed that the group will soon be able to operate in a healthy manner once more, after closures due to COVID-19. The operator was also quick to launch its online presence following the opening of a regulated online gambling market in the Netherlands.

With its primary markets situated in the European Union, Switzerland and Australia, Casinos Austria is one of the leading players in the international casino sector. In October 2021, Casinos Austria was selected by Nagasaki prefecture as its partner for an Integrated Resort at Huis Ten Bosch at Sasebo City in Nagasaki, demonstrating the excellent reputation that the company enjoys abroad.

How can anyone forget the brand new, integrated resort from Sands China - The Londoner Macao? The building boasts a chance to win our Casino of The Year, featuring its iconic London style matched with the elegance and charm of the Victorian era. With approximately 351,000 square feet of gaming space, the resort has continued to open progressively throughout the year.

Casino Cosmopol, one of Sweden’s premier attractions, has battled through the Covid-19 pandemic to offer some of the finest table game and poker game experiences in Europe. Following enforced closures, Casino Cosmopol was able to reopen safely during 2021, releasing the pent-up demand of its customers.

Now, time for an oldie but definitely a goodie. Opening its doors back in 1638, Casino di Venezia is the longest standing casino in the world. The casino offers fine dining, slots, table games and tournaments, attracting modern tourists and gamers through its historic reputation. As well, it weathered the trials of the pandemic with great aplomb. And, just like a fine wine, this casino continues to get better with age.

Constructing an expansion of Studio City and planning a facility upgrade of its City of Dreams Macau, Melco Resorts & Entertainment might indeed be losing some sleep this year, (especially with our award on the mind, of course). In its 2021 trading updates, Melco showed signs of progressive recovery from the pandemic. Despite the Covid-19-related setbacks, Melco remains invested in its expansion plans. The company also intends to shift Altira Macau casino towards premium mass customers, with the change expected to take place in the coming months.

Another company that successfully pushed boundaries and overcame the struggles of the lockdown, was Travellers International Hotel Group (Resorts World Manila). The gross gaming revenue at the Philippines’ first integrated resort grew 53% year-on-year and 46% quarter-on-quarter to Php4.9bn (US$97.5m) in the three months to 30 September 2021.

And last on our list, but in no particular order, is Veikkaus (Casino Helsinki). In 2021, the Finnish operator added set loss limits to its land-based slot machines at its Casino Helsinki venue, a unique initiative in the European casino environment. A block button was also added to the slot machines to prevent gameplay, identified by a red colour on the screen of each slot card reader. Now that’s fair play.

They say life is just a walk in the park, one should take it how they want it, and embrace each day as each day comes. But by the sounds of this set of shortlisters, let the games (quite literally) begin.

The Casino of the year award is sponsored by Pronet Gaming.

Our sportsbook solution provides thousands of betting opportunities across more than 100 sports and 1,300 markets, with 60,000+ live events every month and 800,000+ Pre-Match events per year, while our casino portfolio features more than 8,500 of the world’s best casino games from over 100 of the industry’s leading suppliers.