Land-based casinos in the UK have been growing since the mid-2000s when the government relaxed gaming laws in the country. Casino attendances have been getting larger ever since, with millions more Brits heading onto the gaming floors compared to a few years ago.
While there is a bigger choice of venues than ever for UK gamblers, casino players actually have a limited selection once they go through the doors. Only large casinos can offer up to 150 slots and video gaming terminals. Most smaller regional casinos have a handful of slots and perhaps 5-10 tables like roulette and blackjack.
Bigger casinos are appearing, with Leicester Square in London getting several new entertainment-based complexes since 2005. The lack of Vegas-style banks of slots means customers in UK casinos still struggle to get a game.
So, how can you find the best experience? Even smaller city casinos have a relaxed atmosphere, with an emphasis on food and entertainment. Many casinos now have their own poker room too, offering Texas Hold'em & Omaha tournaments and cash games.
Which are the best casinos to visit in the United Kingdom in 2021? We've listed our top 5, although there are still some smaller gems hidden around the country.
One of the original 'super casinos' set up under the old legislation, Aspers sits on the top floor of Stratford's Westfield shopping centre. It's the perfect place to gamble after a day's shopping, and there's even a view of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium (now West Ham FC's London Stadium).
It boasts more electronic terminals and slots than any other UK casino and also has top-quality bars and a restaurant. The Aspers loyalty card also rewards regular players with freebies. The 888 poker room hosts big-money tournaments and cash games and attracts players from across the world.
Aspers also operates a major casino in Milton Keynes (The Casino MK) which is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. It boasts nearly 200 slots and electronic gaming terminals. Big-money IGT slots like Cleopatra have paid out millions in prize money. Like Aspers in Stratford, MK now boasts sportsbetting terminals in its bar area.
The casino operates a Slots Club for regular visitors who can use their Aspire card to earn over £200 worth of slots offers each month. It's unique games like Spread-Bet Roulette and Live Dealer action that sets Casino MK apart.
A major refurb saw the old Hippodrome reborn as a world-leading casino and entertainment venue in the early 2010s.
Positioned perfectly in London's famous Leicester Square, the Hippodrome prides itself on its famous history. 'Lola's underground casino' features burlesque entertainment and dancers, while big-name singers turn up on the ground-floor stage.
While it can get busy at weekends, the three-tier casino boasts plenty of roulette and blackjack action, plus the usual video slots fare. The world's biggest poker site, PokerStars, have taken over the top floor with their PokerStars LIVE poker room. Big cash games and regular tournaments keep the poker room packed out.
A separate bar/casino on the lower floor features roulette, blackjack, and a craps table - unusual for a UK casino.
One of the best-established casinos in England, 'The Vic' is the best of the Grosvenor chain of UK casinos. The casino itself boasts around 35 tables, including the usual roulette, blackjack, and Punto Banco fare. There are slots and electronic roulette terminals as well.
For gamblers wanting to eat, The Vic has a bar and Dining Room restaurants.
The Vic boasts one of the world's great poker rooms, snappily called The Poker Room. Expanded, and sitting on the top floor of the casino, The Poker Room spreads dozens of cash games and hosts stops on major tours like the GUKPT. The Poker Room also has its own selection of roulette, blackjack, and slots games.
Operated by London Clubs International (part of the giant Caesars group), Manchester235 is one of the Vegas-style casinos that cropped up post-2005. It's more of an entertainment complex than a casino, but the gambling action is still top-notch.
The casino itself boasts blackjack, American Roulette (rare at a lot of UK casinos), slots, and electronic/progressive roulette. There is also plenty of VIP gaming action, with dedicated packages for recreational gamblers.
Manchester235 boasts a 'Poker Lounge' open from 7pm to 7.30am on weekdays and 24 hours at weekends.
Casinos in the United Kingdom have changed massively over the past 10 years. Poker is a big draw at many casinos, while bars, entertainment and fine dining also ensure an all-round experience for customers. Membership rules are easier now, with players able to get access to casinos instantly. Some casinos like Aspers in London allow gamblers to walk straight in off the street.
Choosing a good land-based casino is about picking what's right for you. Do you want lots of games, low-stakes slots, or big-money VIP perks? Are you more concerned about a fun night out and a good meal?
With so many chains operating now in big cities and towns, the choice for UK gamblers is huge. Decide how far you want to travel, and what you want to play, before making a decision.