Internet casinos are a growing business in the United Kingdom, with several brick-and-mortar companies going online in the last few years. We spoke with Andy Mace, casino manager for U.K. gambling institution Stanley Leisure, to find out a little more about the company’s online ventures.
WINNERonline: Can you tell us a little bit about Stanley Leisure?
Stanley Leisure: Stanley is the second largest brick-and-mortar casino operator in the U.K. We have more than 600 betting shops and 30 casinos around the U.K. The company is 25 years old and is publicly traded, which gives us a lot of stability. We operate a sportsbook at StanleyBet.com and casinos at StanleyAcropolis.com, AcropolisCasinos.com, and AvalonCasinos.com.
Wo: Can you transfer that brick-and-mortar experience to the online casinos?
SL: I believe so. I have 14 years experience working in land-based casinos, and my goal is to look after customers like we do at these casinos. We want to provide excellent service and sort out any problems that may arise.
Wo: Are most of your customers from the U.K.?
SL: A lot of people in the U.K. are familiar with the name, but approximately 70 percent of our customers are from the U.S.
Wo: Stanley offers a smaller selection of games than some other online casinos. Why is that?
SL: We decided it was better to do a small selection of games well rather than a large selection mediocre. We also don’t want to spread ourselves too thin.
Wo: StanleyAcropolis.com recently offered a 2:1 Blackjack promotion. How was that received?
SL: Great. It got a lot of attention, and the casino was usually full to bursting. Every time someone would log out, someone else would log in. It was a good deal for players, but they still had to play well to come out ahead. It wasn’t designed to make money for the casino; we wanted to give something back to the players.
Wo: Do you plan to offer any similar promotions in the near future?
SL: We’ve actually got another Blackjack promotion running this week. We will be running a tournament between Monday and Friday, with daily prizes as well as an overall prize. The winner will be the person with the highest win percentage against wages bet. Players can sign up for the tournament at any of the three casinos.
Wo: Customer loyalty is an important aspect of any successful 789 casino. Can you tell us a little bit about Stanley’s VIP program?
SL: We offer regular players a higher betting limit – up to $1000 on blackjack. This is done on a request, one-on-one basis, and it can go back down again if the player wishes.
Wo: We know that some credit card companies are restricting the use of credit cards at online casinos. Has this been a problem for you or your customers?
SL: This has been a problem for everyone. The situation hasn’t been well thought out by the credit card companies, because it’s safer to send money back to the players via credit card. I hope that once the major operators in Nevada go online, the credit card companies will reverse their positions.
Wo: How have you dealt with the situation?
SL: We were one of the first online casinos to offer PayPal, which has been available on our sites since February 2001. It’s a great alternative, it’s easy, secure, and the customer doesn’t have to give out their credit card number.
Wo: Speaking of Nevada, what do you think about the recent decision to move ahead with online gambling?
SL: It was a logical step. There are some problems to iron out before this comes to fruition, but it will change the entire industry and compliment the brick-and-mortar casinos. The sooner Nevada goes online the better, but they have to sort out the legislation first.
Wo: There has been talk lately about licensing online casinos in the U.K. Is Stanley planning to relocate its casinos?
SL: Our casinos are currently licensed in Dominica, and at the moment, we’re taking a wait-and-see approach to things. We’re not worried about the regulations, because land-based gaming in the U.K. is already heavily regulated. It would be nice to have the operations closer to home, and that’s the way we’re looking at it.