UK Casinos – Guide to UK Land-based Casinos

If you’re in the UK and you’re looking for a ‘casino near me’, then you’ve come to the right place. Here, our experts explain how land-based gambling in the UK works, and give us the lowdown on the best UK land-based casinos, including those in London.

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What You Can Expect To Find At UK Casinos

Land-based casinos are by no means a UK-only phenomenon, but it must be said that the British have truly turned the running of these venues into an artform. Indeed, the best land-based casinos UK are more than just somewhere you go to gamble. Here’s why.

A Wealth of Casino Games

The UK has taken a very liberal stance when it comes to gambling, and while it is all done in a controlled manner, you can expect to find a myriad of games to play at most casinos in the kingdom. Among these there will be the classic games like blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and craps.

Poker, too, is a prevalent game of skill in the 150+ approved venues, but you should be aware that many venues follow the Rake system, which means the cardroom will take a commission of between 2.5% and 10% from each poker hand.

You will also find a lot of slot machines, with one of the latest counts showing that there are over 4,000 of them in England alone. These are as popular here as they are in the casinos at Vegas, and can sometimes even be found in pubs.

Last, but certainly not least, it’s good to remember that the UK is a multicultural society, and this also shows in the mix of games of chance and skill you can find at casinos and other establishments. This is why you will also find French Roulette, Mahjong, Kalooki, Wheel of Fortune, and other games deriving from every corner of the globe.

Great Dining & Drinking

From fine dining at the The Victoria of Grosvenor Casino on Edgeware Road, to the more relaxed grill menu at the Empire Casino in Leicester Square and the cocktail bar at the Palm Beach Casino in Mayfair, you can expect to find practically any cuisine you savour at one London casino or another.

Outside of the metropolis, things can be just as eclectic and worldly, and many casinos in Manchester, Liverpool, and Brighton (among other places) also have great dining options for patrons and gamblers.

Fabulous Entertainment

Over and above the restaurants and bars, land-based casinos UK offer visitors many other forms of entertainment including live music, burlesque and cabaret shows, DJ sets, and the chance to watch live football and other sports on large-screens. What is available depends on the casino you choose and what day of the week you head there.

History

Another wonderful factor of British casinos is that some go back well over a 100 years. Maxim’s Casino in South Kensington, for example, was constructed in 1862 for one of Charles Dickens’ closest friends. The Hippodrome in Leicester Square, meanwhile, started out as a music hall and has played host to icons like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and The Jackson 5.

Outside of London, some of the venues that have become casinos have their own history, too. The Pier Nine Brighton casino is housed in an Art Deco cinema, while the Opera House Casino is Scarborough can be found in a Grade II-listed building whose origins date all the way back to 1877.

 

Things You Need To Know About UK Casinos

Knowing what the best British casinos are and where you can find in them is important, but so is understanding the landscape in which they operate.

Legality of Gambling in the UK

Gambling is completely legal in the UK, and you will find land-based casinos, independent casinos UK, betting shops, bookmakers, horse and greyhound tracks, bingo halls, lotteries, charitable gambling, and more. Many of these are regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, and you should only gamble at a licensed casino to ensure your safety. Over and above this, the major thing you should keep in mind is that high-stakes poker is only allowed to take place at licensed casinos. In other words, you cannot play high-stakes poker at home, at a bar, or any other unlicensed venue.

Legal Gambling Age In The UK

The UK’s legal gambling age is 18. Persons under that age will not even be permitted to enter licensed gambling venues unless the venue is licensed as a family entertainment centre.

Accessibility At Land-based Casinos In The UK

Many of casinos in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have become accessible to people living with disabilities, and have ramps, lifts, and many other conveniences to facilitate your visit. Nevertheless, we do recommend checking out the casino’s website and getting in touch beforehand to ensure that you will be well taken care of.

 

The Top UK Casino By Geographical Area

The UK is a large area covering England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and with over 150 licensed casinos and thousands of betting shops dotting the land, it’s hard to list them all. Nevertheless, below we give you the lowdown on the most popular casinos in the nine geographical areas take make up England.

London

London is home to dozens of casinos, and there are many that have become world-renowned and iconic. One casino that has taken its place among the greats is The Hippodrome Casino, which is located in the West End. Here you can find a wide variety of table games, poker tables, and slot machines, as well as a steak house, bars, lounges, and the MAGIC MIKE LIVE show, which is directed by Channing Tatum himself.

Opening Hours: 24/7
Address: Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, WC2H 7JH London
Contact Details: T: +44 207 769 8888; E: info@hippodromecasino.com

East of England

The east of England is where you’ll find the university city of Cambridge, as well as Norwich, Ipswich, and Bury St Edmunds, amongst other well-known places. While many people who live in this region and who enjoy gambling travel to London, there are a number of casinos located within its borders. One of our favourites is the Anglia Fun Casino, which is based in Norwich. This casino is a ‘fun’ one, meaning you won’t be playing with real money or for cash prizes. Instead, those who win the most fun casino money over the course of their stay will receive non-cash prizes. Games here include blackjack, roulette, craps, and casino stud poker.

Opening Hours: 9am-6pm Mon-Sat; closed on Sun.
Address: 105 North Walsham Road, Norwich NR6 7QG
Contact Details: T: +44 7745 431 125; E: info@angliafuncasino.co.uk

The South East

The South East of England is home to one of the most famous racecourses in the world, the Ascot Racecourse, as well as to gambling meccas like Brighton. Our casino of choice for this section is, in fact, found in Brighton. At the Genting Casino Brighton you will find a great array of live-dealer and electronic table and card games, as well as a bar. The casino regularly streams live sports, too.

Opening Hours: 2pm-4am Sun-Mon (hours of service may differ)
Address: 6-8 Preston St, Brighton BN1 2HN
Contact Details: T: +44 1273 725101

The South West

The South West of England is arguably one of the most historic areas with towns like Salisbury, Exeter, Gloucester, Bristol, Plymouth, and Bath all being within this zone. Land-based casinos UK in this geographical area are also well distributed, with our favourite being the Grosvenor Casino Bristol. Here you can find tonnes of casino games including slot machines, as well as a bar, a restaurant, and a snack bar. The casino is also big on entertainment, and has a smoking area.

Opening Hours: 24/7
Address: 266 Anchor Rd, Bristol BS1 5TT
Contact Details: T: +44 117 929 2932

The West Midlands

With an area of 902km2, the West Midlands is made up of six counties, with the largest city being Birmingham. One of the most popular casinos here is the Resorts World Casino, which has over 100 slot machines (including progressive jackpots), more than 40 e-gaming terminals, a high stakes area, and multiple table games. But, of course, it’s a large venue so you can also find restaurants, bars, a cinema, a hotel and spa, and shops.

Opening Hours: 12pm-5am Mon-Thur; 24/7 from 12pm Friday through to 5am Mon (hours of service may differ)
Address: Resorts World Birmingham, Pendigo Way, Birmingham, B40 1PU
Contact Details: T: +44 121 273 1000

The East Midlands

The East Midlands is famous for being the home of Sherwood Forest, the seat of the legend of Robin Hood, but what’s the casino life like there? Well, with cities like Nottingham and Leicester both being in this zone, you can expect some good gambling fun. The Grosvenor Casino Leicester is one great haunt here, with live-dealer games, electronic tables, and slot machines to boot. There’s also a bar, a poker room, a snack bar, and live sports streaming.

Opening Hours: 24/7
Address: 90 Highcross Street, Leicester, LE1 4NN
Contact Details: T: +44 116 242 6070; E: manager.GC-leicester@rank.com (Paul Davies)

Yorkshire and the Humber

With a population of over five million, this region is the seventh most populated region in England. One of the most famous casino here is the Opera House Casino in Scarborough, which is located in a former opera house that has been Grade II-listed since 1972. Here you can find a variety of table games, electronic games, and even weekly Texas Hold’em Poker tournaments. Mahjong can be played on request. There are also a number of bars and a dining area within the venue.

Opening Hours: 10am-4pm Sun-Thurs; 10am-6am Fri & Sat
Address: Opera House Casino, 56-64 St Thomas St, Scarborough YO11 1DU
Contact Details: T: +44 1723 357940; E: enquiries@operahousecasino.co.uk

The North West

With Manchester as the largest city in the North West, it is only fitting that most of the best casinos here are located there. One of our favourites is the Manchester235, which has multiple table games including those for blackjack, punto banco, and American roulette; as well as poker rooms, slot machines, and numerous electronic roulette terminals. The award-winning restaurant here is the James Martin Manchester.

Opening Hours: 24/7
Address: Great Northern Warehouse, 2 Watson St, Manchester M3 4LP
Contact Details: T: +44 161 826 3176; E: info@manchester235.com

The North East

The North East is mostly renowned for its awe-inspiring coastline, the Northumberland National Park, and for Alnwick Castle, which starred as Hogwarts in the first Harry Potter film. With regards to casinos, your best bet is the city of Newcastle, with Aspers Casino Newcastle being among the most popular. Here you can find tonnes of table games, slots, electronic tables, and more. The venue also has a bar that serves drinks and snacks.

Opening Hours: 12pm-4am Sun-Thurs; 12pm-6am Fri & Sat
Address: Aspers at The Gate, Newgate Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 5TG
Contact Details: T: +44 191 255 0400; E: hospitality@aspers.co.uk

Wales

Wales was actually home to the UK’s first licensed casino, The Casino Club in Port Talbot, so it should come as no surprise that visitors to Cymru (the Welsh name for Wales) can still find a vibrant casino scene here. Among our favourites is the Les Croupiers Casino in Cardiff, which has blackjack, poker, roulette, craps and punto banco tables, as well as dozens of slot machines and a sports lounge.

Opening Hours: 2pm-5am Mon-Sun
Address: Capital Shopping Park, Leckwith Rd, Cardiff CF11 8EG
Contact Details: T: +44 29 2038 2810

Scotland

Scotland’s casino scene is mainly concentrated to Edinburgh and Glasgow – but that doesn’t mean you won’t have many venues to choose from. One of the most popular is the Genting Casino York Place, which can be found near the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Here you can find numerous electronic tables, slot machines, and live casino games, as well as a bar that’s open late and regular live sports showings.

Opening Hours: 2pm-4am Sun-Sat
Address: 5B York Pl, Edinburgh EH1 3EB
Contact Details: T: +44 131 624 2121

Northern Ireland

While laws around the UK are fairly uniform, each of the four countries in the union can make its own decisions on certain issues. One such issue is gambling and, sadly, Northern Ireland does not currently have any land-based casinos. Even so, this may soon change as, in May 2021, the news broke that the law currently prohibiting such establishments is being revised.

 

UK Casinos Rewards Programmes

While some casinos in the UK are members-only clubs, where admittance is obtained via a membership fee or, in certain cases, only by an invitation from an existing member, most casinos have an open-door policy. Nevertheless, many casinos in the latter category have also begun offering membership programmes to reward loyal punters. Amongst the best-known and best-loved casino groups that do this are Genting Group, Grosvenor Casinos, and Caesars Entertainment.

The question a lot of people ask us, however, is whether it’s worth joining such a programme at all. The answer is usually yes, as membership allows the casino group to keep tabs on how much you’re spending at its venues and to reward your loyalty accordingly. In fact, many such programmes are tiered, with those in the lower orders receiving benefits like discounts on food and drink at the casino, and those in the higher orders receiving things like holidays, spa getaways, invitations to exclusive parties, tickets to events, and much more.

To get these benefits, all you have to do is sign up and then show your membership card to your live dealer, to your server at the bar or restaurant, or insert it into the machine-operated games.

Before joining a membership programme, we recommend checking out what’s on offer in the area where you usually gamble, and to go for a brand that fits your needs.

 

The Rise of The High-Street Betting Shops

When walking through the high-streets of many towns and villages in the UK, you may notice numerous betting shops located alongside famous supermarkets and clothing chains. These betting shops are usually part of chains themselves, with William Hill, Coral, and Ladbrokes being among the most famous.

Such gambling venues offer visitors a way to place bets on horseracing and other sports away from the racecourse, and sometimes even have tables where gamblers can sit down for tea or coffee and a chat, as well as multiple television sets so races and sports games can be followed live.

What many people don’t realise is that these betting shops have a history that goes back to the 1960 Betting and Gaming Act, which is when they were first legalised. They quickly became a high-street institution in their own right and, by 2016, it was estimated that high-streets in Britain were home to around 9,000 such shops. Their number since then may have somewhat dwindled (to 8,320 in 2019, and 6,735 in 2020), but they remain a staple in many towns and villages.

The Growth of UK Casinos

Gambling in the UK – as in many other European countries – dates back centuries. Indeed, the Ascot Racecourse was opened back in 1711 under the patronage of Queen Anne. Yet, while it is undeniable that the British have been gambling for a long time, the history of the UK legal and licensed casino doesn’t go back that far.

The first legal casino in the UK was The Casino Club in Port Talbot in Wales, which opened its doors in 1961 – just a year after the implementation of the 1960 Betting and Gaming Act. At the time, the casino only had a license for 10 gaming machines per club, but its owner, George Alfred James, had a great vision for it and on top of having multiple gambling facilities, turned the venue into an entertainment one complete with fine dining and live music.

In 1968, another Gambling Act was passed, and this one gave the go-ahead for members-only private clubs to open, with the Clermont Club in London being among the most famous examples of such casinos.

Not much changed until 2005, when the new Gambling Act was introduced. Originally, the Act proposed for ‘super casinos’ to be built around the country, but following the review of the Act by the House of Lords, this concept was completely quashed. Nevertheless, it did bring about much-needed change that resulted in many smaller venues opening all across the UK.

The biggest change since then has certainly been the rise of the online casino UK, which is now estimated to have taken over with a 52.3% of the market share. But this has not spelt the end for British casinos, and they continue to be a mainstay in many of the UK’s largest cities, and even on the high-streets of its towns and villages.

UK Casino Conclusion

With gambling being legal and casinos being abundant, the UK is as great a destination for gambling as it is for history, culture, and nature. We hope our guide to the best British casinos will help you on your quest, and will provide the answer whenever you’re looking for a ‘casino near me’ while you’re in the UK.

FAQs

How many casinos in the UK?

The latest figures suggest that there were around 156 casinos operating in Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) in 2020.

What’s the most famous casino in London?

This is a difficult question to answer simply because there are so many iconic casinos in London. For our money, the most famous are Maxim’s Casino in South Kensington, Aspinall’s in Mayfair, the London Hippodrome in Leicester Square, and Grosvenor Casino The Victoria on Edgware Road.

Is land-based gambling legal in the UK?

Yes, land-based gambling in the UK is legal, as is online gambling. Both are regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.

Do I have to pay tax on gambling winnings in the UK?

No, gambling is not taxed in the UK because it isn’t considered to be ‘trading’.

 

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Information concerning all London casino licensees can be found at the Gambling Commission