The United Kingdom was somewhat late to fully embracing the casino industry compared with many of its western peers, but business is booming in the present day.
It’s believed the Casino Club in Port Talbot, Wales, was the first site of its kind to be opened in Great Britain in 1961, but the industry has grown substantially since then.
In fact, the UK is understood to now house some 140 casinos nationwide, the eighth-most of any country in the world. The United States unsurprisingly tops that chart with more than 1,500 land-based casinos, while only four other European countries (Romania, Czech Republic, France and the Netherlands) boast more casinos sites, as of 2021.
The UK’s rather relaxed gambling laws mean online betting accounts for a massive portion of wagers placed, but casino culture still has its place in the economy.
Casino Camper has assessed the major sites on British shores to determine the best offline venues to visit, along with a UK online casinos guide to also improve your digital experience.
1. Les Croupiers (Cardiff)
Billed as one of largest independent casino sites in the United Kingdom, you’ll struggle to find many welcomes warmer than the one on offer as Les Croupiers in Cardiff.
Stepping into a new casino can often be an intimidating experience at the best of times, but the staff at ‘Les Croups’ do a terrific job of making all punters feel welcome.
The site is located right next to the Cardiff City Stadium—home to the Championship outfit—and is the ideal location for a post-match punt on one of its many roulette, blackjack or poker games.
The poker room alone houses 200 people, meaning the oldest casino in Wales is well-fitted to housing heaving crowds at the most popular times.
Les Croupiers is also the only casino in the UK outside London that offers dice games, while the in-house sports bar lets customers keep up to date without having to leave.
2. The Rainbow Casino (Birmingham)
One of two Birmingham venues included in this run-down, the Rainbow Casino will be a favourite among the more discerning gambler and lies at the other end of the spectrum to the Ritz Club.
The Edgbaston site tends to attract a slightly more youthful crowd and is significantly smaller than any other entry, but what it lacks in size, The Rainbow more than makes up for in its homely feel.
The Rainbow offers card games, slots and other table games to tick a lot of boxes, while it’s also kitted out with large screens and most major sports subscriptions.
If you’re new to the world of gambling, punters can also opt to take lessons in an effort to get the most out of their investment.
3. The Hippodrome (London)
Those after a slightly classier feel may steer themselves towards the Hippodrome in London, which comes equipped with some of the finest amenities you’ll find at a UK casino.
As well as being one of the biggest casinos in London, the facilities available across three floors are industry-leading, including a state-of-the-art, 325-seat theatre that offers live shows. Along with its helping of table and slot games, The Hippodrome also hosts major poker tournaments and is home to the Heliot Steak House.
4. Genting International Casino (Birmingham)
Located in the Resorts World Birmingham complex, the Genting International is about as close as the UK has come to replicating the ‘super casino’ model that’s so popular in the United States.
This sets the site apart in that the Genting International offers all the amenities of a top-of-the-range casino but also houses an on-site hotel and has a multitude of restaurants on its doorstep.
A popular destination for entry-level bettors and big-stakes enthusiasts alike, the Birmingham staple can house some 2,000 gamblers at a time.
5. Park Lane Club (London)
With the aforementioned Ritz Club having not re-opened after lockdown, the Park Lane Club is now about as close as one can get to recapturing that ‘uber-exclusive’ facade.
Members must pay £1,000 to join, and don’t expect to roll up to a table with the same low stakes one would find at just any high-street location.
Private rooms are available to the more secretive punter, while the on-site Jewel of Mayfair offers high-end cuisine to go along with the many card, table and slots games on offer.