Where to go if you want to have a bet in Brum
As befits England’s second city, Birmingham has a well-established casino scene. Indeed, with establishments dating back to the early 1960s – when casinos were first legalised in the United Kingdom – the home of New Street Station, Spaghetti Junction and the refurbished Bullring is as good a place as any outside the capital to play a few hands or enjoy some times at the slots.
Of course, casinos aside, Brum has always been pretty gambler-friendly. In addition to horse racing at Wolverhampton and Warwick, they still race greyhounds at Hall Green, Perry Barr and nearby Coventry. And as a football hotbed, the West Midlands remains one of the best places to watch – and bet on – the beautiful game.
The region has also produced some of the country’s most successful gamblers. Foremost among these is Surinder Sunar, the card player who reached three Late Night Poker finals and won the 2004-05 World Poker Tour Grand Prix de Paris. Peter ‘ActionJack’ Jackson also hails from the hometown of Cadbury’s chocolate and Jasper Carrot.
Being a city that millions of people travel through on a weekly basis, Birmingham’s betting establishments are to be congratulated for trying as hard as possible to attract passing trade. First-class restaurants, well-appointed bars – the simple fact of the matter is that you don’t have to be a gambler to enjoy an evening at any of the places mentioned below.
And if you’re a gambler who lives elsewhere in the country, you can get a taste of the Birmingham casino scene simply by visiting the online options that many of the venues offer. Sites that, in some instances, rival the best igaming experiences available to UK gamblers, these online ventures further underline just how seriously Birmingham takes the gambling business.
While it’s churlish to single-out any one venue in particular, special mention must be made of the Genting Club Star City. The reason? Well, it wasn’t that long ago that the very idea of ‘super casinos’ had middle England on the brink of apoplexy. Wouldn’t such places destroy the very fabric of society? Wouldn’t they crush communities and leave neighbourhoods cash-strapped and homeless? And what oh what about the children?
None of above has occurred in the wake of the Genting Club’s opening. In fact, the casino has accomplished something that for a long time seemed impossible – namely demonstrated that a casino in the United Kingdom could match the look, feel and atmosphere of a Vegas venue without succumbing to bad taste.
To put this in perspective, you don’t have to go that far back in time to find yourself in an era where clubs – particularly but not exclusively, in regional Britain – gave themselves names such as ‘The Copacabana’, ‘The Mecca’ or ‘The Reno’ in the hope that the moniker might make them sound glamorous. The Genting Club Star City, however, isn’t a cheap impersonation or a tribute to tackiness. It’s living proof that British casinos can, at their best, rival their US equivalents for scope, service and style.
Put another way, if you’re hopeful of discovering nirvana in Nevada, a trip to New Street Station is a perfectly acceptable alternative.