The Gambling Act of 2005 is the primary law governing online and physical casinos across the UK. While gambling was a popular pastime before this act was written into law, its advent saw an increase in commercial casinos.
Over the years, the gambling industry in the UK has exploded, with over 150 physical casinos and a minimum of 49 online casinos registered with the UK Gambling Commission. As expected, many of these are managed by the same company or operator.
Large casino operators in the country bring a wealth of experience to their various casinos and, in turn, build better casinos for punters to enjoy. And some are so large that you’ve probably experienced at least one of their brands if you’re a gambler.
Grosvenor Casinos was officially founded in 1970 after gambling clubs originally named County Clubs rebranded. Headquartered in Maidenhead, the group operates over 50 physical casino locations across the UK and employs over 6,300 people.
While the group already had several casinos in its portfolio, it experienced massive growth from the late 2000s onward. At this time, the group began acquiring other casino properties and implementing new systems, such as loyalty programs.
By 2007, the group had launched its first online casino. The popularity of this casino helped boost the company until, in 2013, the group became the largest casino operator in the country. This title was achieved after securing a deal to acquire 19 casinos from the Gala Coral Group.
The casino group is also credited with having the nation’s most expansive selection of dedicated poker rooms. As such, it is widely accepted as the authority in poker gaming.
Its parent company, Rank Group PLC, operates within the UK, Belgium, and Spain gambling industries.
If you’ve ever visited casino review sites like CasinoSource or even done a quick online search for an online casino, chances are you’ve heard of 888 Holdings, which is responsible for sites like 888Casino, 888Poker, 888Sport, and Mr Green.
Founded initially under Virtual Holdings Limited, 888 rebranded in 2011 to bring the brand to the forefront of all its various gambling products. At the time, these included an online casino, sportsbook, poker room, and bingo website. Since then, the bingo division of the company has been sold off.
Easily one of the largest online casino operators in the country (and internationally), the group caters to around six million players each year. It also allows gambling on its platforms in over 100 countries and is licensed by more than 22 regulators.
By 2021, the brand was well-established around the world. However, it grew even bigger by purchasing one of the most prominent betting names in the industry—William Hill. This acquisition, which excluded the US market, spurred the 888 brand to become a global leader synonymous with gambling.
Initially founded in 1964 as a holiday destination provider, the Genting brand has evolved in leaps and bounds over the years. The biggest of these leaps occurred in 2004 when the brand bought the Maxims casino brand from the Gala Coral Group.
The same year, the group also acquired a stake in Stanley Leisure—the largest casino operator in the UK at the time. Just two years later, Genting completed the total takeover of Stanley Leisure, gaining over 45 physical casinos simultaneously.
In almost no time, the group established itself as a leading brand in the gambling industry and successfully operated casinos across the country. In 2008, Genting moved online with the launch of the official Genting Online Casino.
Adding to the reach of the online and regular Genting casinos is the subsidiary brand of the company—Resort World in the UK—which has several international locations. The UK flagship location is in Birmingham.
These complexes offer visitors a complete entertainment solution that attracts millions of punters each year with a hotel, casino, multiple eateries, and various entertainment venues.
Founded in 2000, Bet365 is one of the largest gambling operators in the world. However, its origins are much less grand. Initially, the company was founded in a temporary location and didn’t have anything to show for its efforts until a year after it was registered.
By 2001, however, the company launched its online sports betting platform. With a background in the industry thanks to a family business operating physical betting stores, the founding siblings (Denise and John Coates) grew the brand in leaps and bounds.
After selling its physical stores in 2005 for a staggering £40 million, the group doubled its efforts and soon launched international operations. Enjoying continued growth in the UK and abroad, the company soon began attracting millions of customers, with 80 million registered as of 2022.
Today, the Bet365 Group is one of the largest casino operators that remains unlisted on any public stock market. The company remains wholly private, with Denise holding 50.1% of the shares, while her brother John has the remaining stake.
While there is no doubt that many large casino operators exist, those listed above are larger than the rest and responsible for massive gambling opportunities. In the UK, these operators are household names enjoyed by millions of punters.
So, if you’re looking for an online or physical casino, any of the ones operated by the companies above should serve you well.
Article written by Gareth Jacobs