Land-Based Casinos in the UKGambling has been a part of life in the UK for centuries now. The first officially recorded historical instance dates back to the times when the Romans were the occupying force in the country. In the 15th century there was class-differentiated gambling as well:

  • Horse racing, chess, card games, and other games involving wagers for the rich
  • Dice games and also coin-based gambling games for the poor

The 20th century saw the arrival of land-based gambling in the UK. The first land-based casino in the UK was the Chermont Club, which opened its doors to an exclusive clientele in 1962. What made its opening possible was the passing of the Betting and Gaming Act in 1961.
On this page we take a look at land-based casinos in the UK. We do the following:

  • Take a historical look at gambling in the UK
  • Briefly study the different aspects of land-based casinos in the UK
  • Review the top land-based casinos in the UK; these reviews are done by our team of experts and discuss every aspect of gambling at these casinos

Land Based Casinos by Cities


Law to Regulate Land-Based Casinos in the UK: The Early Days

The first law that brought about the setting up of land-based casinos in the UK was the Betting and Gaming Act of 1961, as mentioned earlier. This law was in operation for quite a while; while it covered different aspects of land-based gambling it did not have adequate teeth to regulate other newer forms of gambling, like online casinos and now the mobile casinos.
The next piece of legislation that was passed to regulate gambling in the UK, at land-based casinos and also online casinos, was the Gambling Act of 2005 passed by the Parliament that year.

  • This law was designed to cover the different forms of gambling prevalent at the time.
  • 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 in the UK using the license they held from their respective licensing jurisdictions; no extra license was required.
  • However, this law was not considered too effective for online gambling.

Latest UK Gambling Laws

The next and most recent legislation for regulating gambling in the UK is the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act of 2014.

  • This Act covers all gambling activities in the UK, including online and mobile casino gambling.
  • Overseas operators are required to specifically obtain a license from the UKGC to offer their games to players there.
  • Operators could pay a fee and obtain a continuity license till their UKGC license was approved.
  • Until that time the continuity license allowed them to operate with their previous license.
  • This law has affected gambling in the UK, with some of the operators closing their UK operations.
  • Over150 companies have applied for continuity licenses so far.
  • Many of them have begun to shift their UK customers to new gambling platforms based out of the UK.

UK Land-Based Casino Facts

Here are a few facts about UK’s land-based casinos that you would otherwise never know about.

  • As of March 2016, the UK has totally more than 148 land-based casinos
    • 30+ of these are in London
    • 2 poker rooms
  • The attendance at UK’s land-based casinos between October 2014 and September 2015 was 20.44 million.
  • A staggering £12.6 billion was the Gross Gambling Yield in the UK as of September 2015.
  • The GGY from the land-based casino itself was more than £993 million.
  • Based on GGY, the land-based casino sector had a UK market share of 8% as on December 2015.
  • Britain had more than 171,134 gaming machines till September 2015.
  • Currently there are 3 super casinos in the UK, mainly in London.
    • The biggest land-based casino in London is The Aspers super casino.
    • Other popular London land-based casinos include The Hippodrome and Maxims Club.
  • Player bets stood at a massive £2,368,814,276 between April and May 2014.
  • Player winnings during this period stood at £366,585,181.

UK RegionsHere are a few more facts specifically about UK and London’s land-based casinos. The 148 land-based casinos in the UK are spread across the following areas:

  • East Anglia (Southend to Luton)
  • Ireland
  • The East Midlands (Northampton to Leicester)
  • London
  • The north-east (Newcastle to Sunderland)
  • The north-west (Blackpool to Bolton)
  • Scotland (Aberdeen to Edinburgh)
  • The south-east (Southampton to Portsmouth)
  • Wales (Cardiff to Swansea)
  • The West Midlands (Birmingham to Stokes)
  • Yorkshire and the Humber casinos (Leeds to Hull)

Major Land-Based Casino Operators in the UK

There are quite a few well-known land-based casino operators in the UK. These include, among others:

  • Genting Casinos
  • The Rank Group
  • Gala Coral Group
  • London Clubs International (Now Harrah’s Entertainment)
  • Aspers Group
  • Caesars Entertainment
  • The Ritz Club
  • The Clermont Club (GlucoLeisure Ltd)
  • A&S Leisure Group
  • Les Ambasseuders
  • Les Croupiers
  • Opera House
  • Ballard Casinos
  • The Corinthian Club
  • Soul Casino
  • The Broadway Casinos

Genting casinos has the most number of casinos in the UK, 44 of them. Three of the best land-based casinos in the UK in recent years have been the following:

  • The Asper’s Casino: It is today London’s biggest super casino
  • Hippodrome Casino: Voted London’s biggest casinos; it occupies 3 whole floors
  • Clermont Club: Exclusive land-based casino for London’s elite

The games available at UK land-based casinos include:

Land-Based Casino Regulation in the UK and UKGC

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is the regulatory body for all gambling activities in the UK, including land-based casino gambling.
UK Gambling Commission

  • Established in 2005
  • Set up with the passage of the Gambling Act of 2005
  • Independent and non-departmental
  • Sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
  • Regulates all of UK’s gambling markets
  • Based out of Birmingham as of March 2016

The UKGC has enacted different pieces of legislation for the gambling industry in the UK.

  • The most recent of these is the point-of-consumption legislation of November 2014
  • This legislation regulates all the UK gambling markets

Gambling forms that the UKGC regulates, except for spread betting (regulated by Financial Conduct Authority), for land-based casinos include:

  • Gambling software providers
  • Remote or online gambling operators
  • Gaming machine suppliers and manufacturers
  • National Lottery
  • Betting
  • Bingo
  • Lotteries
  • Arcades

UKGC Functions

UKGC’s regulatory functions include, among others:

  • Granting licenses to individuals as well as operators who provide gambling services
  • Granting licenses to organizations and individuals providing the facilities for land-based and other gambling activities
  • Channelizing maximum returns from the National Lottery towards good causes.

It ensures regulation through its collaboration with secondary bodies like:

  • Licensing authorities
  • HM Revenue and Customs and also the police

UKGC is designed to perform other functions besides regulating the UK’s land-based casinos. These include, among others:

  • Providing gambling that is open, fair, and does not result in or involve crime
  • Providing protection to children when it comes to gambling
  • Providing impact advisories to central and local administrations about gambling’s effects, positive and negative
  • Ensuring operators meet licensing standards and introducing accountability

The two areas that do not come under the UKGC’s scope of operations are resolution of consumer complaints and offering legal advice towards the development of business ideas or business models.