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This Guide will tell you all you ever wanted to know about land-based casinos in the United Kingdom.

First, you will be able to find all the interesting data on gambling through history and then, you will see how it is all today.

Want to see what it is all about? Let’s dive in!


1: Gambling: how it all started
2: UK Land-Based Casinos: the Advantages
3: Casinos throughout the UK
4: Choose the Right Casino for You!

1: Gambling: how it all started

In this chapter you will read how gambling was fighting the authorities through centuries.

If you would like to know how it all started in the UK, this part will give you some fun trivia about it.

In later chapters I will pin-point the most famous casinos across the land
Gambling has existed in the United Kingdom for a long time now. In fact, UK is one of the countries where gambling has indeed really developed over the centuries.

This kind of entertainment emerged in Britain from even before the Romans occupied the country.

Interestingly enough, there had indeed been a class distinction. Not everyone played the same games, especially since different classes had different interests.
⦁ The rich wagered on horses and games like chess and card games (this was towards the end of the 15th)
⦁ The poor indulged in dice games and later, coin-based games.
There were even laws that were there to regulate the extent to which one could gamble. Obviously, not always was gambling legal, and regulations on gambling have been changing throughout time.

In the 16th century there were lotteries supported by the State.
Around 1569, and then again in 1585 lotteries were regulated through a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth I.

In fact, for a long period of time, government authorities have tried to control people’s gambling habits. King Henry VIII notoriously banned gambling because he believed that it distracted his soldiers from their duties.

Ironically, it was exactly King Henry’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, who authorized England’s first national lottery in 1569 to raise tax revenues.
There were lotteries in 1627, 1631 and 1689 and they were authorized by Charles I. However, did you know that these lotteries had a specific purpose?

The purpose of 17th century lotteries was to finance the supply of water in London.

Then, the first official national lottery was authorized in 1694 by Parliament. Some 20 years after that, the legislation was passed that banned private lotteries.

You probably heard that Britain also had gambling on horse races and that they were in fact highly popular. Horse racing emerged in Britain in the 16th century. In the 1500s, horse racing officially surfaces as betting sport for all in the UK.

During the industrial revolution, horse racing became a British national pastime. Yet, while the government tolerated such betting among the aristocracy, gambling among the poor was still criminalized! The class differences were still existent when it comes to types of gambling and even the way the government treated them.

But most importantly, in the century in the UK emerged two of the biggest racing institutions – the Jockey Club and Tattersalls.

Gambling also flourished in the exclusive gaming houses or clubs that had as its clients wealthy patrons. However, there were persistent resistances to gambling across the UK, and the result was the setting up of the Select Committee on Gaming in 1844 in the House of Lords.

This finally resulted in the passing of the first official gambling-related legislation, the Gaming Act, in 1845 followed by the Betting Act of 1853. Together, these two laws banned gambling in all forms for the working class.

In the 20th century, a large number of betting shops across the UK started to flourish.

Luckily, the 1961 Betting and Gaming Act ensured the arrival of the casino. The first law that actually brought about the setting up of land-based casinos in the United Kingdom was the Betting and Gaming Act of 1961. This act indeed covered different aspects of land-based gambling, but it did not cover new ones such as online casinos and the mobile casinos.

The first official casino in London was the Clermont Club, which opened in 1962. It is, even today, one of London’s most respected clubs.

In 2005 the next piece of legislation was passed. It regulated gambling in the UK, at land-based and online casinos – Gambling Act of 2005 and it was passed by the Parliament. It led to the establishment of the UK Gambling Commission, the singular body overseeing all gambling-related activities.
Under this law, overseas operators could offer gambling services to people. They used licenses held from their respective licensing jurisdictions and no extra license was required.

And again, this law was not quite effective for online gambling yet.
All in all, the most recent legislation for regulating gambling in the UK brought some new provisions. In 2014 there was the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act and this Act covers all gambling activities in the UK, including online and mobile casino gambling.

Since March 2016 there have been 148 casinos in the UK. Of these Genting UK (Genting Casinos) has the most number of casinos, at 44. At these casinos you get to play a wide variety of slot machines and the usual popular games, such as Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat, Craps, and various Poker games.

The first of these new generation gambling venues was opened in London, in 2011. The Aspers Casino, London’s largest, offers the staggering number of 70 gaming tables, this in addition to about a dozen poker tables and some 150 electronic gambling machines.

Today, the gambling industry in the United Kingdom is definitely one of the most diverse in the whole Europe. There are now more than 100 land-based casino all around the country, sports betting and online gambling. Gambling has flourished in UK and its popularity spread throughout the world.
You will see that UK land-based casinos offer a great variety of casino games, from the all-time classics such as Roulette, Blackjack and Craps, to the more exotic games, such as Kalooki, Mahjong, Casino War and Wheel of Fortune. Poker is also a favorite of British Casino fans, even though the Rake system is prevalent in UK casinos and Poker rooms.

And, rake is the scaled commission fee taken by a cardroom operating a poker game. It is generally 2.5 to 10 percent of the pot in each poker hand, up to a predetermined maximum amount

2: UK Land-Based Casinos: the Advantages

In this chapter I will give you the wider idea of land-based casinos
If you would like to know how popular and advantageous they really are, please read on
Let’s find out about casinos across the land!

Now first, if you wonder what exactly land-based casinos are, they are physical ‘bricks and mortar’ casinos. These are real physical houses where you can enter if you are over 18 and choose any game you would like to play at real tables or on real palpable slots.
It is for sure that the UK gambling industry had been experienced a rise in recent years. There is a plan to build more and more Vegas-style “Super Casinos” complexes.

The first of these new generation gambling venues was opened in London in 2011.

For instance, the Aspers Casino is the London’s largest land-based casino. In here you can find 70 gaming tables, about a dozen poker tables and some 150 electronic gambling machines.

The gambling age in UK casinos is 18. However, in most casinos you might be asked to show your ID if you appear younger than 21.
Interestingly enough, it has been noted that online gambling in the UK continues to grow, but that it is not as fast as land-based casino gambling.
So many gamblers in the world agree that land-based casinos actually give you the most genuine gambling experience, especially compared to other types of casino (online casino, live casino, etc.). It is said that a land-based casino offers a more real, interactive and therefore memorable experience.
You feel completely physically and mentally involved in this world when you are in a land-based casino.

You can march up to your table of chips. You can order a drink. And nice hosts and hostesses are always there to help you whenever you wish to ask anything.

Players throughout the world claim that this is the best way to play since you get the real touch of a casino.

On the other hand, people who enjoy company, whether from their friends of from strangers, can mingle easily and chat with others.
This point especially applies to those who enjoy playing Bingo. It is said that Bingo is particularly loved by those who enjoy socializing, and this is why this game is played in many other social communities.

However, this applies to playing table games as well and many card players will confirm that they will much better when being able to see their opponents and to observe their faces while they are playing.

There is also this touch of elegance that many like to support with their clothes – dressing with style is what makes some gamblers really feel extravagant and prestigious.

Therefore, the element which is appreciated the most in land-based casinos is the “human factor”. This is why many players feel like online casinos will never be able to replace “good old” land-based casinos.

3: Casinos throughout the UK

In this chapter you can read about all casinos located in the UK
If you wish to know about the concrete places in UK with casinos, this is the right chapter for you.
I will lead you through land-based casinos through countries of UK

Casinos of Scotland

Currently there are around 15 land-based casinos in Scotland. Majority of casinos are located around Scotland’s major cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen and Dundee.

Like all other land-based casinos, most popular UK casino offer classic casino games, such as Roulette, Blackjack and Poker.
Princes Casino Glasgow is one of the bigger establishments, with over 20 gaming tables on offer and an array on slot machines. In addition to the classics, you can try your luck here in some of the more exotic games, such as Mahjong and Baccarat

To gamble in Scottish casinos you have to be at least 18 years old. Another interesting thing is that opening hours and dress code varies. Hence, you would want to find this out before entering a casino.

Casinos of Ireland

Unfortunately and interestingly enough, casinos are currently officially illegal under Irish Law.
However, casino operators are using a loop-hall according to which privet, members-only clubs offering gambling activities are legal!
Accordingly, at the moment there are currently 12 members-only casino-clubs in Ireland. Seven of these casino-clubs are located in the country’s capital, Dublin.

Even though these casinos in Ireland are smaller than common European casino establishments, they offer all the classic casino games, such as Roulette, Blackjack, Punto Banco / Baccarat and slots.

In Ireland, Poker is also very popular. For instance there are Irish Open Poker tournaments. This of course draws many players from the whole country to come and play.
Membership is of course also limited to those who are at least 18 years old. Dress code and opening hours vary.

Casinos of Wales

There are not many casinos in Wales.
However, one very famous Welsh city that has land-based casinos is Swansea.

If you would like to pay a visit to Swansea casinos, you need to over the age of 18. So, you will just have to have your ID.
In general, any Swansea land-based casino needs to have the relevant planning permission and licenses for that venue as issued by Swansea Council.

Casinos of England

England has a total of 137 casinos and pari-mutuel facilities at your disposal which are spread out across 48 cities throughout the state. The city with the most casinos is London. London has 28 casinos.

Out of all casinos in England you’ll find Victoria Gate Casino to be the biggest. It has 220 gaming machines and 24 table games. You can reach South Point Casino by phone at +44 113 468 8049 or by clicking this link: Victoria Gate Casino to see its information page.
Here you can see the map of all the casinos in England:

London Clubs International

LCI, as they are also known, is a part of Caesars Entertainment – one of the biggest casino groups in Europe.

This group pride themselves in offering the best and the most popular gambling games for all their visitors.

You can find several casinos in London but also around other major UK cities, giving them a diverse and exciting portfolio of gambling.
Generally, the best casinos in UK

Genting UK

Genting is a Malaysian owned company that owns several dozen casinos around the country which have different names. For example, Maxim, Circus and Mint are all big casino names that you can find in the United Kingdom, but they are actually under the same company – Genting.

Genting strives toward being the best of the best, so their casinos are highly professional and are willingly visited by many players.

The Genting Group’s first resort opened in Malaysia before entering the British casino market in 1971.

Today, Genting Group is a company that owns almost 50 casinos across the United Kingdom. Hence, they are one of the largest casino operators in the region.

The company operates two brands in the United Kingdom, Genting Casino and Genting Club. Gambling establishments owned by Genting Group include its flagship, Crockfords Club recognized as the world’s oldest private members gaming club.

A & S Leisure

A & S Leisure is one of the leading casino operators in UK and it has been around for over 30 years. They run the Napoleon Casino brand.
With their six casinos and restaurants across the UK they offer a wide variety of gambling options in places like Sheffield, Hull and London. As a family-run business A & Leisure give extra attention to every visitor making it feel like a second home

The Rank Group

The Rank Group is one of the biggest casino groups on the market – and even more so now after they bought most of the Gala Coral casinos in the UK. The Rank Group has now established themselves as a top casino operator offering everything from pure gambling to betting and racing.

Aspers offers a great gambling experience for their players. They have four casinos around the UK (new casino in Milton Keynes opening in 2013) and even though they are not numerous or the biggest on the market, obviously they look for quality rather than quantity.


Grosvenor was established in 2007 and Grosvenor Casino are owned by The Rank Group. They represent the largest brand of land based casinos in the United Kingdom with a chain of over thirty casinos located throughout major cities and towns in England and Scotland.

It was in March 2013 that Grosvenor expanded when its parent company purchased 19 Gala Casinos from the Gala Coral Group for a deal worth £179 million.

The addition of the new Gala Casinos has made the Rank Group’s Grosvenor brand the largest casino operator in the United Kingdom with 54 casinos.
So, as you could read Grosvenor Casinos and Genting Casinos account for almost 75% of British casinos.

However, the region also contains many other smaller gambling chains, such as Napoleons Casinos and Alea Casinos.

Furthermore, almost 30 of Great Britain’s most luxurious and greatest casinos are in an area of downtown London.

Casinos like the Hippodrome Casino, Casino at the Empire, and Les Ambassadeurs Club offer a range of casino classics such as roulette, texas hold ‘em, three card poker, blackjack, baccarat, craps, and slot machine.

4: Choose the Right Casino for You!

In this chapter I will tell you how to choose the right casino in UK.
You will find out about choices in UK.
Let’s get involved!

As you could read in this detailed guide, gambling has had quite a turbulent and interesting past, not only because of different laws and regulations, but because of gradual and real progress the gambling industry has made.
It was always important to, no matter what, meet the needs of clients and players and to stay professional and on top.

Accordingly, casinos in the United Kingdom have changed a lot, especially over the past ten years.

Today, players do not only search games, but a good service as well. It is enjoyable to have bars, entertainment and fine snacks or even meals, which makes it all comfortable for customers.

Most importantly, if you are wondering how exactly to get involved, don’t worry. Today it is much easier not acquire membership, with players able to get access to casinos instantly.

In order to choose the right land-based casino, you should need to be able to pick exactly what is right for you. This means that only you know which games you prefer and which kinds of bonuses.

Moreover, you know if you enjoy specific meals, or specifically dressed people. Although elegance is usually the key element of land-based casinos, some casinos are stricter on dress codes and people enjoy having a pleasant night-out.

As for the UK casinos, you could read that the choice is huge. There are many cities and towns in different countries offering you the best experiences. Consider how much you are willing to travel, or which cities you would like visit in general. Thus, you can easily find the best casinos on the map.

Other than that, you might want to consider these casino groups we have talked about above (Grosvenor and Genting UK, or the Aspers UK). They are indeed highly popular and many people said they enjoyed their casinos.
England has a highest number of casinos, and you can read more about specific regions and their casinos here.

Unfortunately, in Wales there are not many casinos and they are banned in Ireland. Still this does not mean you will not be able to find casinos there, but generally Scotland has more famous casinos, and England has developed a great number of casinos thanks to different casino groups throughout the years.

Enjoy in UK gambling!