Leicester Square in London is one of the must-see areas for anyone looking to enjoy themselves in one of the busiest cities in the world. Ever since 1670, the square has been all about entertainment and lifestyle – with places like the Horizons Casino being a perfect example.
George Polhill is the Managing Director of Horizons Casino talks talks openly about his career at Horizons Casino and the challenges of a B&M casino.
Horizons Casino started its operation in July 2018, three months after its rebranding from Napoleon Casinos. The Napoleon brand was originally established in Leicester Square in 1988. Until the early 2000s, it was the only casino on and close to the Square, now there are five.
A Career at Horizon Casinos
George Polhill started his career in 1978 as a trainee dealer at Charlie Chester’s in Archer Street. Two years later he got a position at the International Sporting Club in Berkeley Square and remained with the Mayfair brand for the next 35 years.
In the early 2000s, Polhill moved on to be Casino Director for the Colony and then Crockfords until 2009. After that, he became the Director of International Marketing for Genting Casinos in London.
His main role at the Horizons Casino is to drive continuous improvements in every facet of its operations. This not only allows them to compete in the highly competitive market, but also remain true to their proven areas of excellence, such as their customer service.
The most satisfying aspect for Polhill in this regard is the fact that he has to juxtapose his experience with a very different gaming environment while also trying to grow a new brand of casino entertainment in such a sought-after area. An experience, he never tires to emphasise, which is both fascinating and rewarding.
His views on the Gaming Industry
In many parts of the world, the casinos and other forms of entertainment have become an important element when in regional development. Areas like Las Vegas in the past decades, or countries in the Middle East are good examples of that.
George Polhill believes that there has been a lot of change in the UK, beginning in 2005 with the enacting of the Gaming Act into law. Gaming has become an “industry”, both in the UK.
Polhill also thinks that there is enough room for dynamic businesses to grow in the UK. Recent years have seen huge rise in competition. Online casinos, similar to Admiral Casino Online have boomed in recent years, similar to platforms offering sports betting. This is not exclusively due to the “digital age”, but also due to some key advantages over their brick and mortar competitors.
Innovation and creativity are essential for the survival of land-based casinos, be it technical, marketing or operational. Regulatory requirements are becoming more and more demanding while competition is even more aggressive.
Soon after the re-branding, the casino introduced regular Baccarat and Roulette tournaments with great success. Today, most of the available floor space is dedicated to gaming products, with a small bar and restaurant serving customers during their stay.
The difference between Horizons and its local competition is definitely the venue’s size. Intimate and friendly, many clients appreciate the ambience of the place and attribute a feeling of “exclusivity and safety” with their stay. Both regulars and new guests also appreciate meeting management during their stay, adding to the almost homely feeling of the place.
The casino also provides a range of great quality meals and snacks. Under Polhill, the team has tried to build an excellent reputation for the Horizons by refining both the menu as well as the quality of available drinks.
Horizons has changed almost completely. New games, better food and direct communication with their guests are the pillars of their new look. Their aim to provide the best possible gaming experience to possibly the largest, most varied and demanding customer base remains a task requiring creativity and rigour every day.