With Las Vegas off the list of gambling-holiday destinations this year, UK residents who are missing their fix might have to stay closer to home…much closer to home. “Staycation” is the word of the summer as far as holidays go.
Some European destinations are worth a trip. Tallinn in Estonia boasts a massive 35 casinos! That makes it roughly 1/3rd the size of Las Vegas. Prague’s also a good shout for people wanting a gambling holiday. With 14 casinos to choose from, it’s worth at least a long weekend.
And, of course, I can’t talk about European gambling destinations without mentioning Monte-Carlo (in Monaco). It only has 4 casinos, but with a population of 15,000, that works out to 1 casino per 3750 people! To put that into context, London has 24 casinos and a population of 8.9m. That’s 1 casino per 370,333 people! So yes, this should clue you into the fact that Monaco is the playground for gamblers in Europe.
But, in this article, we’re going to stay even closer to home and look at some of the best gambling cities in the UK.
Some Quick Tips
Before we get to the meat of the article, you must stay safe when visiting a casino. I think the biggest thing to remember is that gambling should be a form of entertainment and not a way to make money. Before you take your trip, set a budget and don’t go over that amount.
A night at the casino is often an alcohol-fuelled one, especially when you’re on a gambling holiday. Because alcohol lowers your inhibitions, you’re much more likely to gamble more when under the influence. The casinos know this, and it’s why they offer clients free drinks.
To avoid falling victim to their tricks and spending more than you want to, I advise using a credit or debit card that has a limit you’re willing to lose and that won’t allow you to spend more. Leave the rest of your cash/cards at home.
OK, now let’s get to the main point: the best UK cities for a gambling holiday.
Of course, London tops the list; it’s one of the cities in the world – full of entertainment. And the casinos help. With 24 casinos, it’s the 2nd largest gambling city in Europe, behind Tallinn.
Naturally, because of the choice, there’s a casino to suit everyone – unless you’re underage! Here are a few of the highlights.
Les Ambassadeurs, Hyde Park Corner
This is a members-only club in Mayfair/Hyde Park corner and it’s unlikely you’ll have the money to join. They don’t even publish membership fees online, but some sources say that it’s as high as £25K a year!
If you can afford it, though, you’ll be gambling in a quintessentially British and beautifully ornate Georgian property. It’s a popular choice for international jet setters.
The Hippodrome Casino
For those of us who are monetarily challenged, the Hippodrome is a great choice. It’s one of the largest and most popular casinos in Europe. There’s so much to see and do here. As well as all the usual gaming options (slots, tables, sports, etc.) you can catch a show (Magic Mike’s the latest one), have a sit-down meal in the restaurant, and visit “Lola’s Underground Casino” – I’m not going to give too much away, but it’s an experience to remember!
There’s a further 22 casinos for you to discover in London and if you’re looking for the city that offers the most varied gambling holiday in the UK, London is perfect.
Edinburgh is great for a night out and the casino experience can be part of it. With 4 casinos, it certainly doesn’t have the casino density of somewhere like Monte-Carlo, but it has a decent choice nonetheless. Plus, Edinburgh is a beautiful city and worth a visit just for that.
Genting Casino York Place
Offering all the popular casino games, including poker and blackjack tables, this is a great choice. It’s a cosy casino that offers a decent staff-to-player ratio, so they’re attentive.
It’s a good choice for those of you who aren’t particularly serious about gambling. This is just because it’s relatively small, and the stakes match that. Still, if you’re just looking for a bit of entertainment, and you’re not looking to spend a lot buying in, then it’s a good choice.
It’s a “quaint wee casino”.
Genting Casino Fountain
If you’re looking for something a bit bigger and a bit wilder, then the Genting Casino Fountain is a good choice.
It’s one of the UK’s largest casinos and famed for its high stakes.
Sticking with the capital cities, Cardiff is another great town to visit for a night out. Like Edinburgh, it doesn’t boast a huge number of casinos, but it’s a great place for a long weekend of gambling. You can choose from 4 casinos. Here’s a highlight:
Right in the middle of the city, the Rainbow casino is in a great position for making the most of Cardiff nightlife. It offers all the usual games in a friendly and lively atmosphere.
The casino offers an “experience package”, where you can learn to play new games and enjoy a free drink and 3-course meal!
Les Croupiers Casino
Just outside the city centre, this is the place to head if you’re a serious gambler or just looking for a flutter. It caters to a wide audience.
I must admit, this one took me by surprise. It seems that Birmingham – with 14 casinos – has the 2nd greatest number of casinos of all the UK’s cities. And, it has even more if you count the Merkur Cashinos!
If you’re looking to go on a tour of casinos, then London or Birmingham is the best choice. Here are a few that stand out:
Genting International Casino
This casino has a reputation as one of the best casinos in Europe. It has restaurants and shops. That’s great if you’re going with your family and want to offload some members to the shopping centre!
For those of you that love gambling, you can take advantage of the copious number of gaming tables, the sports bar, and the slots.
This isn’t like other Genting casinos. The International offers a casino experience – a little like a Las Vegas resort – there’s even a spa!
Restaurant, bar, games, and party packages – it’s no wonder that this casino attracts the young, fashionable, and beautiful people of Birmingham, especially the students. This is somewhere to head if you’re looking for a vibrant casino to party and gamble.
Back to a modest amount of casinos, Liverpool has 5.
Grosvenor Casino Leo
This is one of the UK’s biggest casinos, so definitely worth a visit. Trip Advisor lists it as one of the top 100 attractions in Liverpool, and with 4.5 stars out of 5 on most review sites, you can appreciate its popularity.
Such a high rating is unusual for casinos. Usually, you get the disgruntled customers who’ve lost money complaining about how rude the staff is or how the odds are rubbish. Not here, nope, people leave positive review after positive review – with the occasional 1-star rating from a sore loser.
Open 24/7, it’s a great place to visit when the rest of the city starts to close down.
If you want to explore more casinos, check out our list of the top 20 UK online casinos!
OK, so the UK isn’t particularly great for people who want to indulge in a gambling holiday and nothing more. Only Birmingham and London will cut it, unless you want to do a grand tour of the UK, visiting different casinos in different towns.
Nonetheless, there are some fantastic casinos around and all of the above cities are well worth visiting whether you visit a casino or not.
But you’ll have to wait until the 1st of August because the casinos aren’t open just yet.