An unerring historical, legislative, cultural, and influential authority, the United Kingdom is a phenomenon amidst other European countries. England features the capital and internationally authoritative city of London, the prestigious 900+ years old University of Oxford, the distinguished 800+ years old University of Cambridge, the Tower of London from the 11th century, the famous Neolithic Stonehenge primitive monument, etc.
Scotland is home to the Northwest Highlands and a number of other mountain wilds, the Edinburgh Castle in the capital city of Edinburgh, the culturally high-spirited city of Glasgow, the mythical monster or loch known as Loch Ness, a wide variety of whiskeys and golf courses, etc.
Wales is famous for its Snowdonia National Park (with mountains, lakes, trails, a railway, peaks, hiking trails, and glacial terrains), the medieval Cardiff Castle in the inshore city of Cardiff, Celtic culture, etc.
Lastly, Celtic folk music is one of Northern Ireland‘s reason for fame alongside the six-sided interlocking volcanic rock columns of the Giant’s Causeway, the radiating Glens of Antrim, the Titanic Quarter campus, the Titanic Belfast museum, etc. Now to its gambling scene, this is one of the perfect countries when it comes to gambling as an activity, facility, or industry.
List of Casinos in the United Kingdom
Below is a list of all casinos currently operating in the regions of the United Kingdom.
50 St. James
Alea Casino Glasgow
Alea Nottingham Casino
Aspers Casino – The Casino MK
Aspers Casino Newcastle
Aspers Casino Northampton
Aspers Casino Westfield, Stratford City
Beacon Bingo Lowestoft
Best Western Palace Hotel & Casino
Casino 36 Wolverhampton (The Rubicon Casino, Temple St.)
Castle Casino Dudley
Clifton Casino Club
Colony Club Casino
Crown London Aspinalls
Dusk Till Dawn Poker and Casino
Edge – Great Yarmouth
Electric Circus Leicester
Empire Casino Leicester
Genting Casino – Crockfords
Genting Casino – Maxims Club
Genting Casino – The Colony Club
Genting Casino – The Palm Beach
Genting Casino Blackpool
Genting Casino Bolton
Genting Casino Bournemouth
Genting Casino Brighton
Genting Casino Bristol
Genting Casino Chinatown Birmingham
Genting Casino Chinatown London
Genting Casino Coventry
Genting Casino Cromwell Mint
Genting Casino Edgbaston Birmingham
Genting Casino Fountain Park
Genting Casino Glasgow
Genting Casino Leicester
Genting Casino Leith
Genting Casino Luton
Genting Casino Manchester
Genting Casino Margate
Genting Casino Newcastle
Genting Casino Nottingham
Genting Casino Plymouth
Genting Casino Portsmouth
Genting Casino Queen Square
Genting Casino Reading
Genting Casino Renshaw Street
Genting Casino Riverlights Derby
Genting Casino Salford
Genting Casino Sheffield
Genting Casino Southampton
Genting Casino Southport
Genting Casino Stoke
Genting Casino Torquay
Genting Casino Wirral
Genting Casino York Place
Genting International Casino
Grosvenor Casino – Games At The Vic
Grosvenor Casino – The Barracuda, London
Grosvenor Casino – The Park Tower, London
Grosvenor Casino – The Poker Room
Grosvenor Casino Aberdeen
Grosvenor Casino Blackpool
Grosvenor Casino Bolton
Grosvenor Casino Bournemouth
Grosvenor Casino Bradford
Grosvenor Casino Brighton
Grosvenor Casino Bristol
Grosvenor Casino Broad Street, Birmingham
Grosvenor Casino Bury New Road, Manchester
Grosvenor Casino Cardiff
Grosvenor Casino Coventry (G Casino Ricoh Arena)
Grosvenor Casino Didsbury
Grosvenor Casino Dundee
Grosvenor Casino Gloucester Road, London
Grosvenor Casino Golden Horseshoe, London
Grosvenor Casino Great Yarmouth
Grosvenor Casino Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth
Grosvenor Casino Hill Street, Birmingham
Grosvenor Casino Huddersfield
Grosvenor Casino Hull
Grosvenor Casino Leeds Arena
Grosvenor Casino Leicester
Grosvenor Casino Leo, Liverpool
Grosvenor Casino Luton
Grosvenor Casino Maybury, Edinburgh
Grosvenor Casino Merchant City, Glasgow
Grosvenor Casino New Brighton
Grosvenor Casino Newcastle
Grosvenor Casino Northampton
Grosvenor Casino Nottingham
Grosvenor Casino Osborne Road, Portsmouth
Grosvenor Casino Piccadilly
Grosvenor Casino Plymouth
Grosvenor Casino Princes, Glasgow
Grosvenor Casino Reading Central
Grosvenor Casino Reading South
Grosvenor Casino Riverboat, Glasgow
Grosvenor Casino Russell Square, London
Grosvenor Casino Salford
Grosvenor Casino Sheffield
Grosvenor Casino Soames, Manchester
Grosvenor Casino Southampton
Grosvenor Casino Southend
Grosvenor Casino St Giles, London
Grosvenor Casino Stockport
Grosvenor Casino Stockton
Grosvenor Casino Stoke
Grosvenor Casino Sunderland
Grosvenor Casino Swansea
Grosvenor Casino Thanet
Grosvenor Casino The Victoria, London
Grosvenor Casino Walsall
Grosvenor Casino Westgate, Leeds
Grosvenor Casino, Scarborough (E Casino)
Harbour House Casino
Hippodrome Casino, London
Les Ambassadeurs Club & Casino
Les Croupiers Casino Cardiff (The Croups)
Millennium Bar Bristol
Napoleons Casino & Restaurant Bradford
Napoleons Casino & Restaurant Hull
Napoleons Casino & Restaurant Leeds
Napoleons Casino & Restaurant London
Napoleons Casino & Restaurant Sheffield
Opera House Casino – Scarborough
P&O Cruises – Adonia
P&O Cruises – Arcadia
P&O Cruises – Aurora
P&O Cruises – Brittania
P&O Cruises – Oceana
P&O Cruises – Oriana
P&O Cruises – Ventura
Palm Beach Casino at Mayfair Hotel
Paris Casino – Blackpool
Park Lane Casino
Playboy Club London Casino
Rainbow Casino Aberdeen
Rainbow Casino Birmingham
Rainbow Casino Bristol
Rainbow Casino Cardiff
Reading Sporting Club
Rendezvous Brighton Casino
Rendezvous Southend Casino
Resorts World Birmingham
Royal Caribbean International – Navigator of the Seas
Sportsman Casino Bar Restaurant
The Carlton Casino
The Castle Hill Casino
The Empire Casino (The Casino at The Empire)
The Shaftesbury Casino
Victoria Gate Casino
History of Casinos in the United Kingdom
First of all, gambling as an industry in the United Kingdom might not be as large as in the United States or China, but gambling as an activity is more active in the UK than any place on the planet. The history of gambling in the UK started off with basic games played some 2,000 years ago. The ancient Britons were known to play dice games, card games, and coin tosses and bet on different types of jousting events.
Richard I, the 12th century King of England, reportedly played craps in the English court. In the 15th and 16th century, gambling was cleaved in the country. The upper classes placed wagers on horse races and other sporting events while the lower classes were left with dice games and cards. Despite the division, the upper classes were into gambling than their counterparts.
Particularly, Henry VII and his successor-son Henry VIII, Kings of England during the Tudor dynasty in the 15th and 16th centuries, were known to have had an extreme love for gambling.
Henry VIII, famously called the British King of Gambling, was outrageously into cards, dice, tables (a variant of backgammon), and Bragg (a card game similar to poker) during his reign in the 16th century. He reportedly banned his troops from gambling because they focused more on winning bets than win the wars, but that did not stop the King from gambling.
At a point, he wagered the Jesus Bells of St Paul’s Cathedral on a lone dice throw against English courtier Sir Miles Partridge and lost the wager. The next, he lost more than £3000 (which was a huge sum of money) in the course of two years. (Additionally, the current Queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II, plays card games more than usual, according to rumors. She is also very interested in horse racing and has a number of award-winning horses.)
In the 17th century, English politician Thomas Neale was vested with the power to close any gambling house he deemed illicit precisely in 1684. This was done by Charles II, and Neale effectively monitored the gambling industry of London at the time. In fact, the King Street was later changed to the Neale Street in 1870 following his successful reign as the Gambling Overseer.
In the 18th century, gambling was termed ‘hell’ in London as many rich individuals lost their fortune. As they moved to the ghetto, they termed their new habitat ‘lower hell’. Similarly, a number of paupers left the slums as they won huge money to secure a decent life. In the same century, Tattersalls and the Jockey Club were founded to become the two biggest horse racing companies in the United Kingdom today.
Further, sports betting is more historical in the United Kingdom than any other form of gambling. While the exact date is unknown, sports betting is believed to have started many centuries ago. In addition to sports betting, most forms of gambling and games of chance have existed in the country for a long time.
The first recorded appearance of non-royal gambling was in the 17th century when the first notable horse racing bets took place. At the same time, gambling houses were being constructed. The first casino (gaming room to be precise), the St James’s Club (or Crockfords Club as popularly known), was opened in 1828 by English entrepreneur William Crockford in London after reportedly winning a mouth-watering amount in a bet.
The establishment was a members-only club and, soon, the Duke of Wellington became a member so as to promote Lord Douro, his heir. The club was very popular amidst the upper class and a number of games (craps-like Hazard as a prime example) were popular. Today, the gaming room is a well-equipped casino, called Crockfords, owned and operated by Genting Group.
History of UK Gambling Laws and Regulations
In 1844, the growth of gambling was intercepted by the majorities for numerous reasons. Therefore, the House of Lords created the Select Committee on Gaming. A year later, the first acclaimed legislation pertaining to gambling in the country, the Gaming Act, was introduced and enacted.
While the Act was truly acclaimed, the very first gambling legislation was passed in 1541: The Unlawful Games Act. As the name implies, the Act proscribed all games of chance or skill. However, the noblemen, masters, and other elite citizens were permitted to gamble with their family members and retainers.
In 1854, the Gaming Houses Act was enacted, which labeled gambling establishments that are situated in a location illegal. As a result, ‘floating gaming parties’ became the norm for casino games as they move from one location to the other rapidly. The Street Betting Act was enacted in 1906 and the Defence Regulation 42CA of 1942 made for-profit gambling houses illegal.
Prior to the year 1960, gambling was widely opposed by the majority of British politicians, religious leaders, and citizens for gambling activities were believed to be immoral, ungodly, and detrimental to the society. Gambling was so intense in the United Kingdom that people would place wagers on funny outcomes such as how long it’d take to cover a particular distance.
Sports betting on football matches and horse races became widely popular as well. At the time, citizens in the working class were deprived of gambling as all forms of gambling were banned, but partially licit to the upper classes.
First Legal Casino Opens in 1961
Moving on, George Alfred James, a Welsh entrepreneur, opened the first legal casino in the UK in 1961. Originally, it was a shop in Port Talbot then, he renamed it the Casino Club Port Talbot. Many religious leaders opposed such operations but George did make a lot of money during his time. He introduced French roulette, soon opened a number of branches, and brought experienced Las Vegas croupiers.
The first casino to operate in London was the Clermont Club by famous zoo owner John Aspinall in Mayfair district. He opened the casino a year after Casino Club Port Talbot but American media company Playboy Enterprises purchased it in 1972. The casino is one of the largest today.
Meanwhile, these casinos could operate legally because the Betting and Gaming Act was enacted on September 1, 1960, following the Royal Commission on Betting, Lotteries and Gaming from 1949 to 1951. The Royal Commission, led by British politician Sir Henry Urmston Willink, proposed that gambling was particularly harmless and private off-course gambling should be legalized for it would generate revenues for the authorities.
At the time, there were numerous bookmakers and gaming houses operating illegally. And more interestingly, the Police and the Home Office gave their full support for this proposed legislation. However, there was a Royal Commission from 1932 to 1933, which was directly opposite to the more recent one.
Another Royal Commission, which was ‘on Gambling’, laid some recommendations for gambling activities within the country in the later year of 1978.
On the other hand, the Act, which started off as the Betting and Gaming Bill of 1959, made private casinos, bingo halls, sports betting shops, gaming machines, and pubs with gaming machines legal following the recommendations of the 1949-51 Royal Commission. This was to generate revenues and tackle the boundless illegal gambling activities ongoing, as the then, Prime Minister Maurice Harold Macmillan and his administration noticed how huge illegal gambling was.
Illegal Gambling Skyrockets After WWII
Concurrently, illegal gambling activities were very popular in the country as a result of the Second World War from the late-1930s to mid-1940s. During the war, British troops and citizens would wager on illegal slot machines and casino games operated by the aforementioned ‘floating gaming parties’.
Further, the licensing of betting shops started on May 1, 1961, and after half a year, there were more than 10,000 shops already licensed (at the rate of about 15 per day). By 1968, there were more than 15,000 shops licensed and regulated. In contrast, casinos and bingo halls were made members-only with registration and monthly membership fees so the rate was not as impressive.
It is believed that tens of thousands of casinos were licensed within the United Kingdom before 1968. While this figure might be exaggerated (something around 1,200 should be factual), the fact still remains that gambling operators had been impatiently waiting for the approval of gambling facilities; a few years of approval and there were many hustling to receive a license.
However, the Act was impeccably faulty as little to no restrictions and definitions were provided. Many operators used this opportunity to make more money than they should. The Police were left out of the whole process, so illegal gambling was not really tackled.
To conquer this, amendments were added in 1963 as the Betting, Gaming & Lotteries Act. Both Acts of 1960 and 1963 couldn’t provide an effective legislation for gambling. In 1966, things took a positive turn as the Labour Party was voted in. The new government was very interested in taxing the many gambling facilities within the country. The Betting and Gaming Bill of 1959 was further reviewed by the Home Secretary and he found that the problem was not the two Acts, it was the Bill.
Ultimately, he (James Callaghan) set up a new law which would create the Gaming Board of Great Britain to license and regulate gambling facilities, the Police would administer a licensing executive, members’ clubs would need to register appropriately, commercial gambling facilities would start receiving licenses, operators would have to prove their market demand prior receiving a license, operators themselves must be fit financially and morally, advertising of gambling services would be highly prohibited, and gambling facilities would be limited to particular regions. This was the Gambling Act of 1968.
Initially, the permitted regions (or areas, as specified in the Act) were 30 major cities and towns in the United Kingdom. The Gaming Board of Great Britain proposed this and was approved. Soon, a lot of the members of Parliament stood up for their respective disallowed constituencies so the Board included a number of areas based on a strategy.
Gambling Act of 2005
Counties of Scottish cities, Welsh and English county boroughs with a community of at least 125,000 people, and even towns with an authoritative member of Parliament were included. The permitted areas became 52 and this remained until the Gambling Act of 2005 was enacted on September 1, 2007, following two recommendations: The Gambling Review Report of 2001, and the Gaming Bill of 2004 by the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
This Act, which is the most active today, created the UK Gambling Commission as a subdivision of the DCMS (Department of Culture, Media and Sport) to supersede the Gaming Board of Great Britain and license, regulate, monitor, audit and generally oversee all gambling activities and facilities within the regions of the United Kingdom.
The Act enforced three principles at the start. First, gambling must not be conducted for the organization or support of crime, to raise fund for criminal acts, or cause any form of crime or disorder. Second, the operation of a gambling activity must be completely transparent. Third, gambling must be prevented from young and other defenseless individuals, and such persons must not be endangered or exploited by any form of gambling.
Most importantly, the 2005 Gambling Act developed the online gambling market more than expected. Right from there, online gambling has become huge in revenues and operators in the United Kingdom. (Yet, some online casinos are licensed in Alderney or Gibraltar because of the United Kingdom’s high tax rates.)
Online Gambling in the UK
The UK Gambling Commission (along with the European Union until 2016) assure the highest level of security for online gambling services. And of course, operators are required to receive a license before being able to offer their services to players in the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, some territories are whitelisted by the UK Gambling Commission.
This way, operators licensed in those territories can offer their services to British players without a license, but a simple application is required. Presently, the whitelisted territories are Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, Alderney, Antigua and Barbuda, Tasmania, and all European Economic Area (EEA) territories. (Unfortunately, the Commission have decided to stop whitelisting new territories since April 2009.)
Prior the 2005 Gambling Act, B2 gaming machines or Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), which came into the country in 2001, were being wagered on with £100 or more. Each betting shop, gaming arcade, restaurant, or pub was allowed to offer four and applications to offer FOBTs were more than 650 by 2004.
In fact, there were around 30,000 FOBTs within the United Kingdom before 2005. This caused a nationwide controversy and the members of Parliament debated on their locations, stakes, prizes, and quantity. The Act was to tackle this as it posed more problem gambling threat any other form of gambling but failed to do so.
The Act failed in even more ways than that. Most citizens condemned it for being unreasonably difficult to elucidate. And even the local authorities and the UK Gambling Commission sometimes end up arguing because of its complexity. Another reason the Act failed was its dereliction to abolish offshore gambling websites.
Interestingly, those unlicensed and unregulated gambling websites were accessible to British players and allowed to advertise while local gambling websites could not advertise or market their services and are subject to the ‘miss’ Act.
The Parliament pointed out that it made no sense for operators to be licensed and regulated in the UK since it was more advantageous to be based outside the UK. In addition, the Parliament, in a publication, stated that the Act had little to no effects on ‘Regional Casinos’ and ‘Large Casinos’.
Regarding other forms of gambling, lotteries have been in the country for some centuries. In the 16th century (1569 and 1585), Queen Elizabeth I created the first State lotteries. In the 17th century (1627, 1631, and 1689), King Charles I approved a number of lotteries; the 1689 lottery was to fund a project of healthy water supply for Londoners. In 1694, however, the first National Lottery came into existence following a decision made by Parliament. Private operators were prohibited from operating any form of lotteries in the early 1720s.
The National Lottery Act was enacted in 1998 and the National Lottery Commission was established on April 1, 1999, to oversee all matters related to the UK National Lottery under the DCMS. (Prior to this, the Lotteries and Amusements Act had been in use since 1976.) The UK National Lottery Commission was a replacement to the OFLOT (Office of the National Lottery).
The UK National Lottery has been operated by Camelot UK Lotteries Limited since November 1994. The National Lottery Commission was later superseded by the UK Gambling Commission on October 1, 2013. Therefore, the UK Gambling Commission is (almost) the lone regulatory body of the United Kingdom and have more authoritative power than any other gambling board in the world. Notwithstanding, local premises are permitted to license a casino within their premise; this kind of licenses is called a premise license, and quite irrelevant today.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (or HM Revenue & Customs or shortened as HMRC) is the UK Government’s body that collects taxes on gambling activities and facilities within the country. HRMC is one of the reasons the UK Gambling Commission is not alone. The taxes are mostly used for financial, cultural, and social development particularly for families and individuals.
Sports Betting and Horse Betting
One of the UK’s largest bookmakers, the Horserace Totalisator Board (the Tote), was established by the UK Government in 1928. However, in July 2011, the horse racing bookmaker was purchased by Betfred and is currently provided in more than 7,000 betting shops. Horse racing bets were subjected to the Horserace Betting Levy Act of 1969 until the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act was enacted in 1963.
The Levy Board, or The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB), is a subdivision of the DCMS and was established by the Betting Levy Act of 1961 to oversee horse racing betting. The HBLB is the second reason the UK Gambling Commission is not alone. However, the Tote has been overseen by the UK Gaming Commission since its Betfred acquisition. In the end, the HBLB is not as authoritative as the UK Gambling Commission, not even close!
Today, most land-based facilities are subjected to the 1968 Gambling Act (yes, owners have a choice to abide by one of the two pre-eminent Acts) while online operators are generally subjected to the 2005 Gambling Act.
Gambling is an entertainment activity in the United Kingdom. The authorities love it, the people love it, and the industry keeps growing exponentially. Yet, problem gambling is another issue on its own and the authorities, the Police, and the UK Gambling Commission are all concerned with it. Measures are taken but responsible gambling and problem gambling are like inseparable like Yin and Yang.
Further, the majority of British casinos are owned and operated by a handful of companies. For one, The Rank Group’s Grosvenor Casinos owns and operates 58 casinos as of March 2018 – which makes it the largest casino chain in the United Kingdom. The company was technically founded in 1970 but was fully established in 2007.
Throughout its 11 years full existence, it has acquired a mass of existing casinos and rebranded them. Its most notable acquisition was that of Gala Coral Group from March to May 2013 for approximately £180 million. Gala Coral Group itself had 19 casinos; this is how Grosvenor Casinos keeps growing: acquire and rebrand. To show how rapidly and quickly they acquire casinos, the company’s Wikipedia page still reads 55 casinos.
The next casino chain is the Malaysian company Genting Group, which operates a total of 48 casinos within the United Kingdom since its arrival in 1971. Genting Group is divided into Casino, Club, and Electric. While they are all casino brands, Genting Casinos are Genting Group’s flagships.
The Ceasers Entertainment Corporation also operates casinos above 10. Napoleons Casino & Restaurant operates five casinos while Aspers Casino operates four; and so, on and so forth.
Lastly, the most recent Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act was enacted in May 2014. Apart from its main objectives (licensing and advertising), the only significant change was that the authorities wanted to disregard the Whitelist. As a result, the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA) dragged the UK Gambling Commission to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) after six months of enactment. But since the UK is not an EU territory anymore, the days of the Whitelist might be coming to an end.
Current Gambling Climate
Through endorsements by monarchs and leaders, promotions by clever gambling enthusiasts, dozens of debates, years of experience, tens of laws, hundreds of land-based and online casinos, and a huge industry, gambling is distinctively pleasant in the United Kingdom. Casinos and all major forms of gambling, to say the least, are legal and effectively licensed, regulated, monitored, audited, and taxed.
Presently, there are about 161 fully equipped casinos within the United Kingdom. The fact is there are more than 200 gambling facilities but some are small and cannot compete with modern Las Vegas or Macau casinos. Admittedly, even the 161 casinos cannot compete with Las Vegas or Macau casinos as most offer nothing more than a hundred gambling machines with a few table games while in the case of those two states, casinos offer in the thousands. On the bright side, British casinos have that 007-elegance atmosphere with chivalrous men and luxe provisions.
As a unified territory, the United Kingdom is frequently toured by individuals from around the world for innumerable attractions. The major cities are even filled with immigrants from a wide range of countries. Therefore, coming from another country to enjoy the gaming atmosphere of the United Kingdom is not a surprise to the natives.
The languages are English, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Scots, Ulster Scots, and Cornish. The currency is the high-valued Great Britain Pound. Summarily, foreigners will find it nice to be in this part of Europe – and although the Kingdom has its own countries, their diversities are quite identical. And with its extensive casinos and other gambling facilities, heading to the United Kingdom for a remarkable gambling experience or tour is nothing to ever regret.
Casinos in the United Kingdom by Area
The 161 casinos in the United Kingdom are spread throughout Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Out of 69 British cities, Aberdeen, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northampton, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Reading, Salford, Sheffield, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea, Southport, Walsall, and Wolverhampton are the major gambling cities.
However, London is the largest gambling city in the United Kingdom, with almost 30 casinos, over 350 table games, and about 700 gaming machines. (And most are situated in Central London.) According to gaming space, Grosvenor Casino Coventry (G Casino Ricoh Arena) is the largest casino in the United Kingdom, with over 1,700,000 square feet. Aspers Casino Westfield, Stratford City is the largest casino according to gaming options. The casino boasts 242 gaming machines, 40 table games, and a 150-seat poker room.
Types of Casinos in the United Kingdom
There are many types of gambling facilities within the country. Casinos are not the gambling hotspot; there are dozens of racetracks, hundreds of bingo halls, poker clubs, gaming arcades, and cruise ships, and thousands of lottery outlets and sports betting shops.
First, British casinos are luxe and characterized by elegance. Most are situated in a hotel or resort while some are situated near one or more hotels or resorts. Games available are innumerable but American Roulette, Three Card Poker, Baccarat, Electronic Roulette, Blackjack, Roulette, Punto Blanco, Big Six, Slot Machines, Video Lottery Terminals, Poker, Video Poker, Super Wheel, Casino War, Texas Hold’em Poker, Craps, Dice, Mahjong Kaluki, and Wheel of Fortune are generally available.
Horse racing and greyhound racing are both famed in the country though attention is more tilted to the former. Pari-mutuel and fixed-odds betting are operated by almost 100 racecourses located across dozens of cities and municipalities and provided in thousands of betting shops and online. Interestingly, some racecourses have gaming machines so they can be classified as racinos.
Cruise ships are about 20, with P&O Cruises, Cunard Line, Thomson Cruises, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, and Cruise & Maritime Voyages as the owners. Bingo halls and poker clubs are around 800 and, similar to casinos, are spread throughout the country. Both bingo and poker games are popular in the United Kingdom.
Sports betting is the national craze of British gamblers, with sports like football or soccer (national craze on its own), rugby, golf, cricket, ice hockey, basketball, tennis, darts, snooker, boxing, table tennis, and field hockey being wagered on extensively online, in betting shops, and via telephone. Betting shops are almost ten thousand and gambling websites accessible to British players are more than 200. Aged, large companies such as William Hill, Ladbrokes, and Betfred are well known throughout all regions.
Lotteries are popular in the United Kingdom and have been since its introduction centuries ago. The UK National Lottery is the largest operator and provides Lotto, EuroMillions, Thunderball, scratch cards, etc. Lottery outlets within the country are almost 30,000 and about three million players are registered on the official website.
Lastly, online gambling is more active in the United Kingdom than anywhere else in the world. All forms of gambling (casino, sports, horse racing, greyhound racing, bingo, the lottery, etc.), as they are legal, licensed and regulated in land-based facilities, are completely licit online. Betting apps on iOS and Android devices are the norm nowadays as the betting apps market keeps growing day in, day out.
The UK Gambling Commission generates a lot of money from online operators so they are properly regulated and secured to buttress the already huge online gambling market.
Facts About Casinos in the United Kingdom
– According to the UK law, 18 years old is the minimum gambling age.
– The notorious English gangster twins, Ronnie and Reggie Kray, operated the Esmerelda’s Barn casino alongside Polish landlord Peter Rachman from 1960 to 1963. It was a simple nightclub in the 1950s but soon transformed into a casino after the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960 was enacted.
– The Old Curiosity Shop was English writer Charles Dickens’s opinion on gambling. The book, which was his most famous 19th-century Victorian novel, narrated the story of a grandfather who lost all his fortune (plus his life) to cards.- The Betting and Gaming Bill of 1959, which resulted in the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960, was introduced by the Tory Party to discuss the corruption of all laws relating to gambling. Ironically, the discussion turned into a debate of legalization and so the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960 was born.
– The rapid growth of gambling facilities in the country in the 1960s can be linked to a line in Section 32 of the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960. To paraphrase the important part of the line, “…gaming can be conducted when the chances of winning or losing are beneficial to all the individuals involved equally.” With the word ‘beneficial’, gambling operators saw a chance to offer banker’s games. In fact, the Act was so faulty that operators manipulated it in a number of ways. For one, the Act didn’t define a members’ club. The only reference was that the member must have registered a day before gaming could begin. As a result, many clubs just installed a number of gaming machines and turned themselves into a members’ club – thereby defining their own monthly registration and membership fee. Second, some selfish operators charged per session. This way, they could place a charge on a single wager on gaming machines or table games.
– English entrepreneur Mike Ashley, British businessman Sir Philip Nigel Ross Green, and Australian media mogul Kerry Packer reportedly won £1.4 million, £2 million, and £7 million respectively in different casinos in downtown London. In contrast, the same Kerry Packer, British media tycoon Robert Maxwell, and a Greek by the name Frank Saracakis lost £20 million (in a course of three weeks), £1.5 million, and £8 million respectively.
– The UK Gambling Commission fined Camelot over a ticket fraud in late-2016 and the fine was £3 million.
– In 1953, the Queen’s horse named Aureole came first in the Epsom Derby. In 2012, her horse Carlton House (trained by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden by Ryan Lee Moore) won the famous Dante Stakes flat horse race. In fact, the Queen’s thoroughbred horses have won more than 1,600 races as of 2013.
– In 1958, the Police confiscated a ‘common gaming house’ operated by John Richard Burke and his famous business partner John Aspinall along with John’s mother. They were taken into custody and charged to a court. Charges were later dropped following a ruling by the court, which stated that private gaming parties were legal according to the law. Accordingly, the authorities found themselves being interrogated the press became of this hotchpotch.
– 28-year-old Sam Trickett is the highest-earning British professional poker player as he has won over $20 million as of November 2017. Currently, he is the number twelve highest-earner on the planet.
– By 1972, there were only 125 casinos operating out of the initial 1,200 casinos.
– Gaming All Slots Online Casino was the first online gambling operator to advertise its services (basically roulette and blackjack on a wide variety of devices) to Britons.
– In 1968, one-and-a-half percent of women and three-and-a-half percent of men wagered on casino games frequently. By 2010, the percentages had upped to three and nine respectively according to the 2010 British Gambling Prevalence Survey.
– The whole gambling world was cracked up by a Hippodrome Casino, London advertisement published in 2013. The ad stated a need for ‘dwarf’ security guards no taller than 125 cm (4’1.21″). In his defense, the owner described the building of his casino as short and ancient and therefore, suitable for short men.
– Although it was last documented in 2005, the UK National Lottery distributes 50 percent of its income to fund the cash prizes, 28 percent to perform some charitable activities, 12 percent to the Government, five percent to pay retailers, four-and-a-half percent to cover operating expenses, and a-half percent to Camelot as profits.
– As of March 2018, application and annual fees for land-based casinos are divided into A1, B1, C1, D1, E1, E2, and E3. A1 casinos are the casinos with £5.5 million or less annual revenues; they apply with £5,858. B1 casinos apply with £8,706 and generate between £5.5 million and £27.5 million per year. C1 to E3 casinos generate an annual revenue of £27.5-110 million, £110-200 million, £200-300 million, £300-400 million, and £400+ million respectively but equally pay an application fee of £17,575. Respectively, their annual fees are £16,714, £22,440, £71,943, £167,256, £324,704, £400,586, and £500,586 (with an addition of £100,000 per £150 million revenue).
– In spite of its rapid popularity, Grosvenor Casinos was known to pay low salaries when it first gained popularity. In fact, hundreds of its employees went on a strike in January 2007 which was precluded by four employees who resigned a month earlier.
– Grosvenor Casino Coventry (G Casino Ricoh Arena) hosts the annual Goliath Tournament. It has been the largest live poker tournament held outside the United States since 2014. In 2014, more than 3,300 players were present. In 2015, the figure went up to over 4,000. The most recent event was in 2017, with a prize pool of more than £600,000 and over 6,300 players. Currently, the biggest prize ever won in the Goliath Tournament and other tournaments of the GUKPT (Grosvenor United Kingdom Poker Tour) was £85,760, won by British player Elliot Marais with his £120 buy-in.
– Camelot sold tickets worth almost £7 million from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017.
– In the 1790s, Lancastrian Harry Ogden organized the first recorded fixed-odds betting (bookmaking) on horse racing while operating safely near a Newmarket racecourse. He noticed horses vary in performance so he came up with an idea to place a different price on each horse and summed up to his advantage. He was smart enough to create odds based on performance but even smarter to build a high profit margin, so no matter the amount won, he was always smiling home. By the 1840s, bookmaking was a huge business as both working and upper classes were involved.
– Historically, greyhound racing became popular amongst the working class as an alternative to the upper classes’ horse racing. It came into the country in the early 1920s and the first race took place in 1926 at Belle Vue, Manchester. During and shortly after the two World Wars, greyhound racing became even more popular with reported 30+ million greyhound racing lovers in 1946.
– In the United Kingdom, the GGY (Gross Gaming Yield) is more than £12 billion per year.
– There have been zero updates since the United Kingdom left the European Union in June 2016. Yet, many believe there will be effects. Some say the Whitelist will be discarded, some can see tax rates upping to buttress the economy, while some believe the licensing process will be stricter than ever. At the end, whatever happens, is in the hands of the British authorities, without the EU regulations.
– Pertaining Bitcoin gambling, the British authorities are not interested in accepting virtual currencies anytime soon. In December 2017, the UK Government (the Treasury, to be precise) declared through Committee member John Mann and another spokesman that criminals are using cryptocurrencies to strengthen their criminal acts by safeguarding their identities – a notion proven and supported by the Metropolitan Police Service, and Parliament will look into strictly regulating them. In accordance, Sir Jon Cunliffe (Deputy Governor of the Bank of England) and Dr Garrick Hileman (CEO of Hosaic Research Associate, University of Cambridge) agreed individually. In January 2018, the Prime Minister Theresa May, at the World Economic Forum, advised the authorities to look ‘very seriously’ at cryptocurrencies, considering the ease at which criminals could use them.
– In 2018, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ordered online gambling operators to stop promotions that encourage punters to keep on betting until they reach a certain wagering requirement; punters must be able to cash out at their convenience. PT Entertainment, William Hill, and Ladbrokes responded shortly and have agreed to review and revise such promotions.