Hippodrome Casino London

Hippodrome Casino London (Credit: michaelpuche / bigstockphoto)

You don’t actually need to go to a casino to play casino games, especially if you’re talking about slots and other electronic games. But if you’re wanting to play casino games in person and with real dealers then you’re going to need to head to an actual casino. And that’s what this section of the site is all about.

Whilst the headline here might be ‘local casino’ we’re not talking about your friend Dave who has got a deck of cards and holds poker nights every Friday.

We’re not even necessarily referring to only the independent casinos, although they’re obviously more likely to be based in smaller towns and areas. Instead we’re talking about the physical casinos that are based in the towns, villages and cities around the country and allow people to turn up, join them and get involved with playing casino games straight away. Whether it’s big chains or independent ones, the games on offer will mostly be the same.

What Are The UK’s Biggest Casino Cities & Towns?

Map of the world with UK highlighted

The United Kingdom is always something of an interesting place to talk about when it comes to gambling. On the one hand, our gambling laws are a touch more relaxed than those in place across the United States of America, with a betting shop on every street corner and casinos available in most towns and cities. Yet on the other hand if you were to ask most people to name a gambling Mecca then they’d almost certainly point you in the direction of Las Vegas or Atlantic City, both of which are located in the US.

So what about the UK? Whilst people tend to automatically think of Vegas or Macau, London has a lot to offer without needing to jump on a plane and the private casinos in the nation’s capital are known for being exclusive and of high quality. There are certainly plenty of casinos that you can visit in London, including a couple smack bang in the middle of Leicester Square, but that’s not the only place in the UK that offers the ability to have a gamble.

Blackpool features heavily in our article about amusement arcades, but the town known as Vegas of the North has more than a couple of casinos situated along the promenade. Away from that particularly delightful cliché is Resorts World Birmingham, which plays host to a Genting casino that claims to be ‘more than a casino…a casino experience’. Open twenty-four-hours-per-day for electronic gaming and eighteen hours for live gaming, it’s on its way to being an English Vegas.

Another area well worth a visit if you’re determined to enjoy a night out at a casino is Leeds. The city plays host to Victoria Gate Casino, which is the only Super Casino that has been built in the UK to date. It offers a dedicated poker room, slot machines aplenty and explanations of how to play that a newcomer will really appreciate. There’s pretty much every kind of card game that you could hope to play on offer here, as well as table games like blackjack and roulette.

Town Number of Casinos
London 25
Birmingham 7
Manchester 6
Glasgow 5
Nottingham 4
Edinburgh 4
Blackpool 3
Cardiff 3
Liverpool 3
Newcastle 3
Leeds 3

Whatever Happened To The US-Style Super Casinos?

Las Vegas Mega Casino

Large Casino in Las Vegas (Credit: ehrlif / bigstockphoto)

Mention of the Victoria Gate Casino in Leeds might well have sparked a memory off for some of you regarding the so-called Super Casinos that were going to be built in the wake of the 2005 Gambling Act passing through parliament. The Tony Blair led Labour government wanted it to be the beginning of a new generation of betting locations throughout the United Kingdom, but it just wasn’t to be.

There was a plan to build a Las Vegas-style mega casino complex in Manchester, but it was dropped in 2007 in the wake of a large public backlash from people living in the area. The other sixteen mentioned above were pencilled to open, but only three did in the years that followed. Once such area, Newham, got permission from its local residents to build a new casino on the proviso that it led to jobs being created and a regeneration of the area, which it duly did.

In the end, it seems as though the government and local councils simply waited for the furore surrounding the idea of large casinos being built to die down before reigniting the plans. The rules over whether they were designated a small or a large casino simply dictated how many machines and tables they could have inside them, with even the small ones being bigger than most of those that were already in existence.

Could We See Any New Casinos?

According to the Gambling Commission, there are only certain places in Great Britain that are permitted to house casinos. Or, to be more specific, there are only certain areas where new casinos have been allowed to be built since the passing of the Gambling Act in 2005. The regions that were allowed new casinos were decided upon according to the historical division that had been established in 1968.

Eight different local licensing authorities were given permission to have one small casino within their boundaries, whilst eight others were given the licence to have a large casino within their boundaries. The areas where as follows:

Small Casinos

  • Bath and North East Somerset
  • East Lindsey
  • Luton
  • Scarborough
  • Swansea City
  • Torbay
  • Dumfries and Galloway
  • Wolverhampton

Large Casinos

  • Great Yarmouth
  • Kingston Upon Hull
  • Leeds
  • Middlesbrough
  • Milton Keynes
  • Newham (London)
  • Solihull
  • Southampton

As mentioned, those areas exclude the ones that already had casinos prior to the 2005 Gambling Act being passed, so that helps to explain why other areas other than those on the list boast casinos. The likes of the Hippodrome Casino in London and the Manchester 235 Casino are good examples of ones that were in place before the Act came into being and therefore stand outside the specific locations mentioned above.

Membership & Waiting Periods Were Ditched in 2015

Man in Waiting Room

In the past, people wanting to join a casino would have to do so the day before they actually wanted to attend. There was a twenty-four hour waiting period in place, stopping people from simply turning up at a casinos and heading straight to the roulette wheel.

That all changed in the wake of the 2005 Gambling Act, with casinos instead able to allow people to enter straight away as long as they provide identification that shows that they’re over the age of 18. Two years later and the law also altered in terms of casino opening hours, with venues permitted to stay open twenty-four hours a day.

Nowadays there are very few limits in terms of becoming a member of a casino and how long those casinos can stay open, with the major requirement being that casinos ensure that there is no money laundering or other criminal activity taking place. That’s not to suggest that’s nothing but a Wild West type scenario, with the United Kingdom Gambling Commission working hard to ensure that the UK is one of the most regulated countries in the world when it comes to gambling.

Yet by the same token, as long as you’re over the age of eighteen, are not a criminal or planning to carry out any criminal acts, you’ll almost certainly be able to place a wager in a casino not longer after arriving at it even if you weren’t a member before you got there. The only major exception is if you’ve got a gambling problem and have chosen to enter a self-exclusion scheme that should stop you from being able to bet for an allotted period of time.