Casinos in the UK

Unlike other regions of the world such as North America, Asia and the Caribbean, Britain has not looked to construct sprawling hotel and casino resort complexes where the casino is part of a larger tourist resort and has hotel accommodation attached to the casino building.

British casinos by law are members-only establishments, keeping them within the scope of private clubs. Guests must secure membership at least 24 hours before being able to enter a game, although this can easily be done online for most British casinos.

The History of British Gambling

Britain has a gambling culture dating back for centuries, but this has never had casinos as a focal point, while in recent years online gambling has been another factor lessening the demand for real life casino play.

Other forms of gambling are far more popular, including the National Lottery, Scratchcards and Sports Betting.

There is a large market in Britain for placing bets on competitive sports at bookmakers, particularly for football, horseracing and greyhound racing.

While casinos elsewhere in the world grew ever larger, in 1960 the Gaming Board of Great Britain limited the number of gaming machines in casinos to 10.

The Gaming Act of 1968 relaxed this ruling to allow true commercial casinos, but it was still illegal to have accommodation attached to the casino building.

And while an Act passed in 2005 seemed to have paved the way for hotel and casino resort complexes, there has since been no end to the political and legal wrangling between gaming companies and anti-gambling factions, including government ministers and even Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Will Britain Soon Have Its Own Casino Resort?

On January 30, 2007, Manchester won the right to be the location of Britain’s first hotel-casino resort styled after Las Vegas hotel-casinos.

However, the plans were reviewed just two months later, with the House of Lords urging that 16 smaller casinos be built in various areas instead of the Manchester resort.

While the huge resort complex in Manchester would have boasted up to 1 250 slot machines with no upper jackpot limit, the 16 large casinos introduced under the government plans would have only 150 machines each, with top stakes of £2 and prizes of £4 000.

In July 2007, The Guardian newspaper reported that Prime Minister Brown had decided to drop the idea of the Manchester hotel-casino resort, but progress with the 16 smaller casinos around Britain – pretty much ruling out the chances of this sort of vast hotel and casino complex being built on the island in the foreseeable future… but then again, I wouldn’t bet on it!