Club Liberté Casino
The sundrenched island paradise of the Seychelles is a common draw to tourists from Europe, the Middle East and Russia. Roughly 1500 km (930 miles) off the East African coast, the archipelago offers Club Liberté, one of the best casinos in the Indian Ocean. We’re fortunate to catch up with Jake Waller, Managing Director at Club Liberté.
Could you give us a bit of a background on your role with Club Liberté, and what the responsibilities entail?
New World Gaming was first approached by the representatives of the owners several years ago, and then contracted to carry out a feasibility study for the casino. This led to a full business plan in preparation to set up the casino and then to operate it. My role as MD is to define corporate strategy, and give guidance and direction to operational management as well as on-going liaison with the owners’ management company. We are very fortunate with this company as they have been extremely supportive since the beginning and helped in every way to make a success of the casino.
You’ve had a lengthy career in the casino industry. Could you give us a bit of a summary of your background?
My career initially started with six very formative years with Sun International in Southern Africa, before moving over to Greece’s first privately owned casino, followed by being part of the opening team at the Rodos Casino in Rhodes. After that I spent five years with Xanadu Casinos in Kyrgyzstan and Moldova. A quick year’s contract in Peru and Mexico then led me back to the UK where I was the project manager for the Isle of Capri project in Coventry. After that I started New World Gaming and from there it’s been pretty much non-stop travel and contracts, culminating in the Club Liberté project.
Based in the Seychelles, Club Liberté guests are likely mostly international tourists. Where does the casino draw most of its guests from?
We draw the majority of our Guests from Europe, the Middle East and Russia, and this is the main focus of our marketing push. The Seychelles is strategically positioned for us, as it is only a 4 hour direct flight from Dubai and Abu Dhabi; the Seychelles being a vacation destination of choice for the Gulf States. We will shortly attack the South African market as Johannesburg is only a 4 hour or so direct flight as well. You could say that South Africans are spoilt for choice with casinos, but we have something that no casino in South Africa can offer – a tropical paradise.
Less significant financially, but equally important to us, are our local players of whom we have a growing and regular attendance. A handicap is the casino not being near the major population centres in the North, but our marketing team are on to this and bringing the locals in. Of course, we have the best casino in the Seychelles, so once the locals visit, they come back.
How is Club Liberté placed within the Seychelles casino market?
Again, the Club Liberté is the best casino in the Seychelles; the owners ensuring this with their investment in the building which is in a Colonial mansion house style and with only the best being good enough where the equipment is concerned. Of course, just having expensive equipment is no good if the customer service is not up to standard, and we take every effort to ensure that we have the best product to offer the customers. As well as the main gaming room, we offer a self-contained VIP Room with a private entrance for those players who prefer discretion, as well as a smaller privé gaming room.
We offer a stylish bar and a small restaurant that opens till very late and is designed to quell the players’ late hunger pangs, as we are not in the business of competing with the resort hotels and other restaurants. We prefer our players to dine first and then come and visit us. That said, we do offer fresh sushi at our Sushi Bar, probably the best sushi in the Seychelles, prepared to order by our specialist chef. We even have a smoking patio where guests who feel the need can partake of a pleasant Shish pipe. This is very popular with our Middle Eastern guests.
Are locals encouraged to visit the casino?
The casino was designed and built by the owners as an attraction for the Seychelles and the Seychellois people, in which tourists are a bonus. So yes, local players – and non-players - are made most welcome. The casino has a Seychellois music offering and frequently there are special evening
events with Creole music and cuisine.
What type of table games are provided at Club Liberté?
What are the most common? The casino has English Roulette, Blackjack, Poker (Russian, Three Card and Caribbean Stud) and Punto Banco. Roulette is by far the most popular game and, funnily enough, Blackjack is the second game, going against the current trend of more and more Poker.
How significant are slot machines in the overall gaming mix within the casino?
Table games bring in around 75% of our gaming revenue with the rest coming from Slots. We have a number of the latest machine offers from the big suppliers, but slots are a difficult market in the Seychelles, especially with us being away from the population centres. The numbers of Slot players are gradually increasing – especially our local players - we have some good players who visit us 3 to 4 times a week. Club Liberté also provides Private Gaming.
How many guests does this accommodate, and what benefits are provided to the guests?
The private VIP Room has one roulette table and two card tables. We can, however, increase or decrease the number of tables as to the demand and can quite comfortably accommodate 20 or so players if necessary.
What type of casino management software is in use to manage the facilities? What key issues does it manage?
We are using the Ace CMS supplied by Osiros; the main focus is the management of the slot machines, with a strong concentration on the jackpots and marketing, additionally the cash desk. The use of an approved management system is required by law.
How does social media play into Club Liberté’s marketing mix?
We rely heavily on social media as a means to market the casino both locally and internationally. This is our marketing media of choice due to our market being fragmented over so many geographical regions. Of course, social media has now taken over from many traditional means of marketing. Locally, of course, social media marketing is excellent for us as it gives us instant access to our local players and enables them to be in touch with us and see what is happening at the casino.
How do the casino’s entertainment offerings impact visits to the casino? We have regular events throughout the year and strive to hold at least one important event each month. We have live music as well on the weekends and find it’s a great way to make the casino more relaxed and inviting for our customers, especially the overseas customers who get a chance to have some real Seychelles entertainment.
Casino Life would like to thank Jake Waller for his contribution and introduction to Club Liberté, a gaming gem in the Seychelles.