Victoria Gate Casino, Leeds Review Continued...
Location Map and Nearby Casinos
The casino is easy to find in the city centre and within easy walking distance of Leeds’ train and bus stations, but parking spaces are shared with the shopping centre and, as is the case across much of the city, daytime rates are prohibitively expensive. However, there are plenty of less-pricey options dotted around Leeds centre and night rates are cheap for those who think they might miss the last train home.
Entry to the casino is made on the ground floor, with two escalators sweeping you up to the main gaming area, where the sheer scale of the venue is striking. There are no hidden corners here, no map required to find what you want, you can instantly spot the table games, slots and bars.
In fact, players have a choice of two main gaming areas, both filled with a wide choice of table games. roulette, blackjack, punto banco and three card poker tables. One is situated near the Live Bar and, as such, is a more lively affair, surrounded by loud music and bright lights. The other, whilst close by, is more refined, basking in the subdued atmosphere emanating from the cocktail bar.
Both areas are lined by electronic gaming video roulette and punto banco machines, allowing players to bet on the live-streamed outcomes on the real tables, and are separated by a vast wall of state-of-the-art video slots.
There is a good-sized cash desk in the middle of the casino to hand in your winning chips and tickets at the end of the night., the layout flows really nicely between the areas thanks to the open-plan design and the decor is elegantly understated.
There are 24 tables in action so any player itching to get involved should not have to wait too long for a turn. A host of roulette tables are available, each accompanied by a snazzy display board showing the latest statistics such as hot and cold numbers, although the minimum bets vary from table to table. For connoisseurs of other table games, or those looking to try out something new, there are also blackjack, punto banco and three card poker tables.
The electronic gaming machines give punters the choice of whether to play roulette or punto banco and are ideal at the start of a casino visit for getting to grips with how the games work before heading to the tables. A total of 140 slots are available and feature a variety of different themes to appeal to different tastes, whilst offering a jackpot of £20,000.
Membership and Loyalty
Membership to the casino is not required in advance, and as long as punters adhere to the smart casual dress code they can just come in and play at any time. For added rewards, however, players can consider the loyalty V-cards. There are three levels – Sapphire, Amethyst and Ruby - which grant everything from free food and drink offers to discounted parking and points for exclusive player bonuses, but this is probably only an option which regular visitors will wish to explore.
Atmosphere and Amenities
This review is written following a visit on the casino’s opening night, when there was a real buzz about the place. It was relaxed and friendly, with the staff joining in with the fun and contributing to the atmosphere. There is no reason to suspect this will change, but the review will be updated in time after the venue has been visited on a regular night.
Despite the open-plan design of the casino, there was a real distinction between the two main gaming areas. Customers will appreciate the ability to choose between having their roulette and blackjack soundtracked by high energy pop music near the sports bar or by the clinking of chips and whirring of wheels next to the champagne bar. A local singer graced the stage on opening night and live acts will continue to be used sporadically on special occasions.
Restaurant and Bars
Curve, the champagne bar, did not seem prepared for the casino’s opening day, with long queues building due to a combination of understaffing and some hesitancy when mixing drinks. After waiting an age for a mojito, the result was extremely disappointing, but the crowd by the bar that had built up during its lengthy creation meant that sending it back to be remade would have eaten into valuable gaming time.
The range of drinks on offer was impressive, with draught and bottled lagers and craft beers sitting alongside a comprehensive cocktail menu and selection of champagnes.
There was a similarly wide choice at the Live Bar, where opening night queues were long, but service was more rapid. The walls were covered in large screens streaming the latest sporting action, with plenty of seats on which to perch to keep an eye on the scores between gaming at the table.
An array of the usual burger, pizza and sandwiches are available to order at the tables and slots, whilst the V restaurant will serve meals created with locally-sourced produce. The restaurant is smaller than expected and was understandably not serving food on the opening night when attention was centred on showing off the gaming facilities.
Toilets were smart and clean, although there were surprisingly few urinals considering the casino’s capacity. That said, there was no queuing involved on such a busy night, so this is not exactly a major issue.
Staff were friendly and polite, with the dealers coming across as relaxed and and helpful. Aside from the aforementioned mojito incident, everyone seemed to be adapting to their new roles with ease.
Victoria Gate Casino is undoubtedly impressive and will prove hugely popular in a vibrant city like Leeds. There’s plenty of choice when it comes to games, as well as multiple opportunities to grab refreshments and the chance to take a break from the games to peruse live sport on TV.
It looks and feels fresh thanks to a clever layout and an impeccable design job, with the only gripe being that perhaps the champagne bar wasn’t quite ready for the opening night. This is easily rectified, however, and the venue is sure to be completely up to speed before long. Leeds’ Victoria Gate Casino has now set the benchmark for the country’s future super casinos.