LED casinos

Deputy chief editor - Michael Nikoulichev

Today we can hardly imagine how a casino would look without bright LED screens, LED signs and the colorful play of LED letters. Casinos fully embraced LED technologies; LED screens became practically an indispensable feature of the sinful world of gambling and big bucks. Public always was weary of casinos: not surprisingly US authorities exiled casinos to special zones far from populated cities.

The same principle was adopted by the Chinese authorities: special economic zone of Macau was to house “corporations of vice”. Russia was quick to follow the trend: four special zones were identified by the Russian government where people could come to lose their hard-earned savings. However we are not concerned with the ethical aspects of this issue. We are more interested in how the marketing specialists and engineers adapt LED applications for specific requirements of the high-profile casino industry.

We have already written about the “Mecca of video LED screens” in the center of the USA. In fact Las Vegas and Reno (Nevada) became testing grounds for new advertising technologies. The neon advertising was born in Las Vegas and is peacefully dying out there. Las Vegas became the first to install first lamp screens (hugely expensive in early 90ies). Later lamp screens reluctantly gave way to LED screens which in mid 90-ies were affordable only to the most highly profitable and flourishing establishments. Today Las Vegas is glittering with LED advertising – and usually only the best brands of LED screens are allowed there. It’s no longer just LED screens: we should speak of unique sophisticated technological structures that incorporate LED screens and other applications…

Casino’s LED screen in Atlantic City Huge LED media façade of the Harrah’s casino in Atlantic City
Casino’s LED screen in Atlantic City Huge LED media façade of the Harrah’s casino in Atlantic City

The younger brother of Las Vegas is Atlantic City is much more modest in its appearance. It’s almost a miniature version of Las Vegas with the only exception of the losses. The screens that almost invisible during the day turn into blazing fires during the night. But they are smaller and simpler in all respects. The only exception is the huge LED media façade of the Harrah’s casino – a huge high-rise turned into an LED screen that is visible even on the highway far from the city. To attract customers one needs more than just an ordinary LED screen today.

The former Portuguese territory of Macau was returned to China in December 1999. From that moment on it started its fast growth as a gambling empire of the rich new China. Macau today is a home for the biggest casino brands of Venetian, Sands, Galaxy Entertainment Group, MGM, Lisboa and some others. However the proximity to China affected the choice of LED screen suppliers. For example, a huge LED screen (produced by a Chinese manufacturer) on the façade of Sands casino started showing signs of degradation and LED failure less than a year after installation. It was finally decided to replace it. Today, Sands proudly displays a new and excellent LED screen – but at what expense and for how long?

Fast economic growth in China was unchecked even by the world economic and financial crisis. Money flows freely there and searches for ways to be spent. Thus, Macau had to expand, and it spilled over to the nearby island of Taipa. The island turned into a huge construction site: to give rise to a new city, the City of Dreams. Apparently, the lessons of the Sands LED screen were well learnt: all new LED screens that decorate the new city are excellent in quality and design.

Ring-shaped LED screen in Macau Ring-shaped LED screen in “The Dream City” in Macau
Original ring-shaped LED screens in “The Dream City” in Macau

Visiting these prosperous bright casino-cities, I cannot but wonder how will the Russian gambling cities look like when they are finally built. Will they shine with high quality LED screens and LED signs and amaze visitors by unique designs (as they do in Las Vegas and Macau), or the owners of casinos will opt for the economy solutions as they are doing in Moscow today?