As well as it is time to bid fond farewell to Casino RAY, that has served Finnish casino patrons well for over 12 years, it is time to welcome a new landmark attraction not just to casino business but to the whole entertainment culture of Finland with the opening of Grand Casino Helsinki. The new casino will double its size and the number of table games and slot machines from the previous one and it will also include two restaurants and four bars and, also, entertainment will be an integral part of the new casino concept. Also, the new Grand Casino Helsinki, designed by American architect Paul Steelman, will be an architectural wonder with its advanced technology, video technology and lighting.
History and future meet in Paul Steelman’s
Las Vegas architect Paul Steelman has been entrusted with the objective of delivering a casino design to mesmerise with modern mastery and to tantalise with traditional expertise in its new location in Mikonkatu 19. Grand Casino Helsinki will have a very central location in the Railway Square in the Fennia quarter where cinemas, restaurants and bars draw people. The new location with its increased visibility and foot traffic will bring new customers to the casino, locals and tourists alike.
Grand Casino Helsinki has 2,600m², mostly in two floors. Old and new styles will meet in the casino. The Fennia Salonki fine dining restaurant will be renovated back to the original 1920´s style, when it used to be The restaurant in Helsinki. Fennia will also be the stage of casino entertainment, show and dinners. On the other hand the modern part of the casino, altogether 1800 sqm in two floors, will be one of the most modern in Europe with its huge 42 sqm video wall and lighting techniques that will provide change of the moods and atmosphere to the casino. As the planner himself describes: “Architecturally designed lighting shifts with the change of the seasons or events and accents the bright energetic color pallet”.
Old and new
With the increased square meters the amount of the games will also be increased remarkably. Slots will go up to 300 machines and they will be provided by both European and American manufacturers; IGT, Atronic, Novomatic and WMS.
Sega Derby Special and Novomatic Touch Bet Roulette will be introduced to to Finnish casino patrons as well.
The number of gaming tables will be doubled to 32 tables. The tables are custom made by C.T.C. Holdings, as well as the gaming chairs. On card tables there will be a completely new solution for air-conditioning to meet the requirements of new tobacco law but also allowing customers smoke while playing. The system is developed by a Finnish company Halton Ltd.
The roulette wheels will be made by Cammegh Ltd., the table game displays and wheel management system will come from TCS John Huxley as well as the chipping machines and a Sic Bo table.
CARD will provide One2Six shuffling machines and CEW takes care of the layouts.
Sic Bo, Pai Gow Poker and Midi Punto will be the novelties of the table games area in Grand Casino Helsinki.
New concept and more entertainment
The move of the casino will be much more than just relocation for the casino. The casino concept will change a lot and the size of the casino on the Finnish market will be huge. That is why the new casino will be run under a new name, Grand Casino Helsinki, suitable to the new operation. This will be more of an opportunity to completely rebrand the casino concept in Helsinki. Grand Casino Helsinki will be opened with the hope that people will view it as a completely different experience
A much greater emphasis will be placed on entertainment such as variety shows, cabarets and international entertainers. New corporate packages where gaming is combined with other various forms of entertainment will be introduced to the business customers in addition to the recent favourites; gaming schools and business poker. These attractions will interest many new customers to spend an exciting evening in the casino.
Great expectations with steady growth
“Grand Casino Helsinki looks for a steady growth of business in the long run. As a part of the RAY, Raha-automaattiyhdistys (Finnish Slot Machine Association), the target of Grand Casino Helsinki is to raise funds for Finnish social and welfare programs. We are not looking to make a fast buck”: says Casino Director Hannu Jokipaltio and continues: “During the 1st year we are expecting 250 000 visits with the turnover of 25 million euros, which represents about 4 % of the whole income of RAY organization”.
RAY has had the exclusive rights for slot machines and casino games in Finland since 1938. The new venue will be much more obvious to passers by with its own facade, entrance and signage. With the new concept Grand Casino Helsinki will change its visitor demographics to the benefit of RAY and all the charity organisations that it supports.