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Will we see more casinos built in the UK?

Photo by Scott Blake on Unsplash

Several cities around the world are famous for their huge integrated resorts where billions of dollars are wagered on casino games each year. Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Macau have all developed their gaming offerings over decades, starting out with relatively small casinos, and investing in newer and more impressive facilities over time.

Of course, these are not the only places that you can find casino though. Major cities around the world also having casinos, at least where they’re permitted by law. For example, in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, gamers can enjoy classic games at a handful of different venues.

Casinos in Britain

In the UK, casinos have operated for decades, although for a time, peculiar laws meant that British versions of traditional games like roulette were different to what you’d play elsewhere. For example, the 0 and 00 slots on a roulette wheel give the house a small edge. However, until the 1960s, casinos in the UK weren’t allowed to make money from a statistical advantage, meaning you’d only find red and black on a British roulette wheel.

Today, the casino landscape is very different. Almost every city has a casino of some form, whether it be a large venue with entertainment, bars and restaurants like London’s Hippodrome, or a small retail unit that contains only slot machines.

Holding steady

According to the UK’s licensing and regulatory body, the Gambling Commission, the number of casinos operating in Great Britain has remained fairly steady over the last decade. In 2011, 149 physical gaming venues were operating, while at the end of 2019, this had risen slightly to 155.

A similar pattern can be seen in the number of betting shops operating in the country, though the quantity of these has declined slightly in the last couple of years.

This is despite competition from online casinos that offer the same range of games but with the added convenience of being able to play them whenever and wherever a player wants. Click Here to see an example of one of these casinos.

It’s a far cry from the plans of the mid-2000s though. The British government at the time had legislated for a “super casino” to be opened in the country. This larger venue would be similar to a Las Vegas-style integrated resort, with a large gaming floor and many other amenities.

Although Manchester won the bid to open one, it was never built. One politician has recently begun talking about the possibility of opening a super casino in Blackpool, though there doesn’t appear to be much appetite elsewhere in government.

Will we see more casinos built in Britain?

It seems unlikely that a super-casino will be constructed any time soon. A very long process of planning, public consultation, regulatory approval, and design will need to take place before any building work can begin, and in the current economic climate, there will be few people wanting to commit capital to that.

It’s possible that we’ll see the number of smaller casinos continue to grow slowly, but the threat from online casinos could also put a stop to this.