Casinos in the United Kingdom represent some of the largest (and most fab) places to gamble in the world. Today, the region hosts over 140 land based casinos, with most in England, 30 in London, 4 in Wales, and 13 in Scotland. However, the history of land based casinos in the United Kingdom has come a long way since its early days.

Click To View The Complete History Of Casinos In The UK.

The Early Days of Great British Gambling

Gambling in the UK has quite a long history dating back more than 2,000 years. The early days of British gambling had little to do with roulette wheels and slot reels. Long before the days of the modern casino, the English would bet on the outcome of jousting events, play dice games, or wager on a coin toss game called cross and pill, a precursor to heads or tails.

Other favorites included a three card game called Bragg, early versions of poker, and bets on board games. Later in the 18th and 19th centuries, the British often placed bets known as “pedestrianism”, wagers made on how much time it took to walk, run, or hop a distance. Horseracing and sports betting on football and rugby also grew in popularity.

early british gambling

Before the casino, Brits placed bets on the outcome of jousting tournaments.

Early versions of casinos appeared during the 19th century with the foundation of private members-only gaming clubs. Crockfords opened as a gaming club in 1828 on Curzon Street in London with the support of the Duke of Wellington. The Victoria Sporting Club on Wellington Street opened its doors soon after. Despite the existence of these casinos, British law didn’t have an official position concerning the legality of casinos in the United Kingdom until the 1960s.


Founded in 1828, the Crockfords started out as a private members gaming club. It still operates at its original location in Mayfair London.

Learn more about Gambling Laws in the United Kingdom.

Grosvenor Casinos

Established in 2007, Grosvenor Casino owned by The Rank Group represents the largest brand of land based casinos in the United Kingdom with a chain of over thirty casinos located throughout major cities and towns in England and Scotland. In March 2013, Grosvenor expanded when its parent company purchased 19 Gala Casinos from the Gala Coral Group for a deal worth £179 million. The addition of the new Gala Casinos has made the Rank Group’s Grosvenor brand the largest casino operator in the United Kingdom with 54 casinos.

grosvenor casinos

In 2013, Grosvenor Casino’s parent company The Rank Group purchased 19 Gala Casinos, making it the largest casino operator in the United Kingdom with 54 casinos.

Genting Group

One of the other major casino developers in the United Kingdom actually comes from Malaysia. The Genting Group’s first resort opened in Malaysia before entering the British casino market in 1971. Today, Genting Group owns close to 50 casinos across the United Kingdom, making it one of the largest casino operators in the region. The company operates two brands in the United Kingdom, Genting Casino and Genting Club. Gambling establishments owned by Genting Group include its flagship, Crockfords Club recognized as the world’s oldest private members gaming club.

genting casinos

Malaysia’s Genting Group owns close to 50 casinos throughout England and Scotland.

UK Casinos owned by Genting Group also include:

  • Resorts World at the NEC, Birmingham
  • Crockfords Club, London
  • The Colony Club, London
  • The Palm Beach Casino, London
  • China Town Casino, London
  • Circus Casino City Centre, Birmingham
  • Circus Casino Star City, Birmingham
  • Circus Casino, Blackpool
  • Circus Casino, Liverpool
  • Circus Casino, Luton
  • Circus Casino, Manchester
  • Circus Casino, Margate
  • Circus Casino, Newcastle
  • Circus Casino, Nottingham
  • Circus Casino, Stoke-on-Trent
  • Circus Casino, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Electric Circus, Luton
  • Electric Circus, Portsmouth
  • Genting Club, Sheffield
  • Genting Club Riverlights, Derby
  • Maxims Casino Club, London
  • Maxims Casino, Birmingham
  • Maxims Casino, Bournemouth
  • Maxims Casino, Coventry
  • Maxims Casino, Reading
  • Maxims Casino, Southampton
  • Maxims Casino, Southend
  • Maxims Casino, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Mint Casino, London
  • Mint Casino, Bolton
  • Mint Casino, Brighton
  • Mint Casino, Coventry
  • Mint Casino, Great Yarmouth
  • Mint Casino, Leicester
  • Mint Casino, Liverpool
  • Mint Casino, Manchester
  • Mint Casino, Salford
  • Mint Casino, Southend
  • Genting Club, Southport
  • Mint Casino, Torquay
  • Mint Casino, Wirral
  • Mint Casino, Glasgow, Scotland
  • Mint Casino, Leith, Scotland
  • Stanley Casino, Plymouth

Casinos in London Town

Although Grosvenor Casinos and Genting Casinos account for close to 75% of British casinos, the region also contains smaller gambling chains such as Napoleons Casinos and Alea Casinos. Close to 30 of Great Britain’s most lavish and largest casinos are situated in an area of downtown London. Casinos like the Hippodrome Casino, Casino at the Empire, and Les Ambassadeurs Club offering a range of casino classics such as roulette, texas hold ‘em, three card poker, blackjack, baccarat, craps, and slot machine.

hippodrome casino

The fabulous Hippodrome Casino represents the largest casino in the United Kingdom and one of the many casinos located in downtown London.

Whether coin tosses or card games, gambling remains an age old tradition in Great Britain. After a long history of land based casinos in the UK, today land based casinos continue to flourish, and the United Kingdom has over 140 gambling facilities.

The UK also hosts many popular online casinos. Find out more about online casinos in the United Kingdom.