A gaming brand with extraordinary heritage for players in the UK is Barcrest. Originally founded in the late 1960s, Barcrest was initially concerned with producing gaming machinery for the bingo halls that thrived at that time. It soon expanded its activities into other areas of the leisure industry, and become synonymous with the Fruit Machines and later AWP (Amusement with Prizes) cabinets that became staples of UK amusement arcades, pubs and takeaways.
Enjoying phenomenal growth throughout the last decades of the 20th Century, Barcrest established a commanding presence in real-world gaming outlets throughout the UK and Europe that caught the attention of our North American cousins. IGT – at the time the leading name in casino machines in the US – made its play for Barcrest in 1998 and acquired the company to establish an instant foothold in Europe, retaining the brand as it recognized its value in this market.
1998 also marked the beginning of the era when online casino gaming really began to become viable, and Barcrest turned its attention to the creation of online slots to grow its existing business into the new, uncharted waters of Internet betting. Barcrest has been behind many popular online slots in its time, but one stands out as the game most online players will know it for – Rainbow Riches.
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Barcrest’s Rainbow Riches began life as an AWP machine in the UK’s pubs and clubs, but got an online slot makeover in 2006. The rest, as they say, is history. Over a decade later, Rainbow Riches is still today one of the most popular slots at the best online casinos, and has not only spawned its own sequels – Rainbow Riches Pick ‘n’ Mix being a recent favourite with players – but also a raft of Leprechaun-themed copycat slots that try to muscle in on the original magic this slot bottled.
A further corporate acquisition in 2011 finally brought Barcrest and its IGT parent under the roof of the current giant of US gaming, Scientific Games. The brand lives on with its established games, however it’s unlikely we’ll see a new ‘Barcrest’ game in the future now SG has the reigns. Although it’s sad to think that Barcrest has probably gone to rest as a distinctive UK gaming brand, while Rainbow Riches continues to weave its magic in online casinos there’ll always be a little bit of Barcrest alive in our hearts.
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