Since the Gambling Act of 2005, the UK has really stepped up its casino game. There are now over 100 different casinos up and down the country. These range from the scruffy and dive-like, to the modest, right through to the lavishly exclusive. If you head to a new city, a quick online search of “local casinos” is likely to lead to confusion as you’ll be confronted with five or more options all guaranteeing you the “best night out” in whichever location.
Fortunately, we’ve done the legwork for you. We’ve collated many hours of testing different gambling venues into a handy list of the UK’s most Iconic Casinos. When compiling it, we decided to omit the most exclusive places because, let’s face it, you’re not getting in those without an invite anyway. These are our top picks that anyone who’s of the legal gambling age can enter.
The Empire Casino (London)
With its faux-Roman columned exterior, and lavish casino floor, The Empire Casino in London is certainly one of the capital’s finest places to spend the evening. Punters can game, enjoy the match, or even pop next door to catch the latest blockbuster.
All the games you’d expect to find in a modern casino are represented at The Empire Casino. These include: Roulette, Blackjack, Punto Banco, Three Card Poker, Pai Gow Tiles, and a huge array of slots and electronic games. Players who’re used to playing online will be pleased to know that there are almost as many machines as are listed at the likes of NoDepositRewards.
The Empire Casino also offers players an extensive selection of poker games. There are cash games running constantly, and a plethora of different tournaments. The card room manager has clearly been inspired by the success of different variations of poker being played online as there are bounty hunter games, a mixture of different buy-ins, and even a regular Sunday tournament with a slower blind structure. Finally, there’s the monthly £25,000 guarantee, a must-enter for those that fancy themselves as the next Phil Ivey.
The Empire Casino is home to the Carlsberg Sports Bar. It houses an enormous screen with fourteen smaller ones. These show all the best sporting action from around the globe and it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Food is also available in the bar and guests can order from a finger food-style menu of wings, burgers, salads, and sandwiches.
For those requiring the full VIP experience, a visit to the Dragon Lounge is just what the doctor ordered. It’s exclusive for Platinum, Diamond, and Seven Stars card holders. In this “club within a club”, you’ll find plenty of higher stakes games, a cosy and secluded dining area, and a well-stocked private bar. The Dragon Lounge is accessed via a private entrance and the level of luxury inside has been considerably ramped up in comparison with the rest of the casino.
If the excitement of the casino floor gets too much, just next door, there’s the EMPIRE cinema. This modern theatre offers a suitable break from trying to beat the house or over-indulging at the bar. Visitors can even enjoy the latest releases on the spectacular IMAX screen.
Aspers Casino (London)
Located on the third floor of Aspers in Westfield, Stratford City, this place oozes sophistication whilst not being uncomfortably exclusive. Curiously, Aspers Casino doesn’t require membership but if you’re lucky enough to look under 25, or you’re planning on winning more than £2,000, you’d better make sure you have a government-issued form of ID.
With a selection of games as strong as Aspers’, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Sin City itself. There are 61 gaming tables for the likes of Roulette, Blackjack, three card poker, Punto Banco, and the Superwheel. There are also 150 slot machines for which Aspers World card members can claim up to £200 each month in bonuses. The highest pay-out in the electronic casino section is a staggering £20,000 which comes courtesy of the progressive machines on the casino floor.
Aspers also offer an innovative take on the stateside favourite, poker. Crazy4poker is a table game that’s played versus the house. The idea is to beat the dealer’s four card poker hand. It’s like a cross between Texas Hold ‘Em and casino Blackjack. It’s also almost as lucrative as the progressive slots thanks to its 200:1 maximum pay-out.
In addition, Aspers hosts regular poker tournaments in their fully-equipped 888 Poker Room. Buy-ins range between £10 and £100. The games and buy-ins vary each week. If you’re wanting to play poker on your visit, make sure you check the schedule before travelling.
If all that wasn’t enough, those who’re around during the daytime can play a free game of bingo. Here, the top prize is a juicy £500, and games are played at 11am.
Regular players are entitled to additional perks thanks to a generous bonus scheme. These include birthday presents, free play, complementary drinks, and more. The most loyal players are even entitled to their own VIP host. How’s that for classy?
Clary’s Restaurant at Aspers is a real treat for the foodies out there. Its menu consists of modern dishes using only the finest locally-sourced ingredients. It’s the ideal place to unwind after a big win, or to get the much-needed energy for that mammoth poker session.
Aspers also features an elegant cocktail bar and terrace. Sky bar is the epitome of chic with its magnificent floor-to-ceiling drinks display and open roof terrace. Its another prime spot to take a minute from the action of the main casino floor.
That’s not all though, there are also facilities to place sports bets at Tanzibar in the main room and a varied roster of musical performers come through to entertain the guests. The place really is a one-stop nightspot.
This non-stop casino is the pinnacle of the North’s gambling spots. It’s set on Deansgate – one of the city’s most happening areas – right next to the Beetham Tower which houses the Manchester Hilton. Whether it’s gambling through the night in the lap of luxury, or indulging in a cocktail masterclass, the 235 in Manchester is a sophisticated place to spend a day or night.
All the classics are well-represented at the Manch235ter casino. Players can choose between American Roulette, Blackjack, Punto Banco, Three card poker, and a load of different slot machines and electronic games.
The casino also houses Manchester’s best poker lounge. The room runs through the night at weekends and players can expect to find the best dealer-dealt action in town. There are progressive jackpots up for grabs, and it’s one of the few venues in which you can play games of Pot Limit Omaha as well as No Limit Hold ‘Em.
The tournament schedule in the lounge is great with regular games taking place from Wednesday through Sunday. There are various bonuses on offer too. These include free entry to every fifth game, as well as early bird bonuses for pre-registering to tournaments.
If all that wasn’t enough, there are also plenty of cash games on offer. These typically run with blinds between one and five pounds.
The stand out facility at the 235 has got to be celebrity chef James Martin’s restaurant. This luxury dining experience serves up classic, ever-changing, and exciting British cuisine. It’s even won a place on The Sunday Times list of top restaurants for 2015. The icing on the cake is most-certainly the meat market. Guests are invited to pick their own piece of meat from the various cuts on offer.
When it comes to rest and relaxation, the casino is home to the Vega Lounge. It’s one of Manchester’s finest late-night bars and has been inspired by the luxury of Las Vegas itself. Their extensive cocktail menu will take some getting through but we’re sure it’s possible with enough perseverance!
If the management deem you worthy, you might also be extended an invitation to the Icon VIP bar. It’s without doubt one of the most elegant in Manchester and sophistication is the order of the day. There are private casino tables and of course a well-stocked bar with some of the finest spirits from the four corners of the globe.