Now that Royal Ascot is over, those who fancied their chances on a flutter can roll off the racecourse and back into the betting big league.
There are now plenty of gambling choices available for both high-rollers and infrequent-flutter-fans in the nation’s capital.
Why not pop on your glad rags and treat yourself to some chips at the plush surroundings of some of London’s finest gambling establishments?
Here’s a quick list of five of the most stylish casinos that the capital has to offer.
The Hippodrome in Leicester Square has been synonymous with capital entertainment ever since it was built, opening in 1900. Initially a circus and variety act venue, the Hippodrome eventually changed track and became the capital’s number one music-hall theatre.
By the 1960s the Hippodrome had become a nightclub and entertainment venue, but eventually diminished as a leisure-time hot spot and closed in 2005.
In 2009, the lease at the Hippodrome was snapped up by entrepreneurs Jimmy and Simon Thomas, who oversaw the restoration of the Hippodrome back to its original décor. The Hippodrome was repurposed as a high-class casino, and was opened by London Mayor Boris Johnson in July 2012.
The Hippodrome has three floors of gaming including roulette, blackjack and baccarat, plus a poker deck sponsored by PokerStars. The Hippodrome also runs an internet arm – you can read a review of the Hippodrome online casino here.
Located in St James’s Steet, Mayfair, and with a £1,000 per annum membership fee, Crockfords is a casino designed for gamblers blessed with chunky wallets. Originally an 1820s gentleman’s club, Crockfords is a world-class establishment where you can enjoy an amazing dining experience before hitting the roulette, blackjack and baccarat tables.
Crockfords hit the headlines in 2014 when it refused to pay legendary poker pro Phil Ivey his £7.7 million winnings from a session of punto banco. Crockfords argued that Ivey had used his own deck in which the cards had been unevenly cut when manufactured which, the casino reasoned, gave Ivey an unfair advantage. Ivey insisted he had done nothing wrong and took the matter to the high court, but the case was ultimately awarded to the casino.
Head towards the Olympic Park and you’ll find the Aspers Casino on the third floor of the Aspers entertainment venue in Westfield Stratford City.
Aspers opened as the UK’s biggest casino in December 2011, with forty roulette and blackjack tables, ninety-two gaming terminals, one hundred and fifty slots and a poker room with enough space for over a dozen dozen poker players.
Aspers is designed for the more casual casino player, and the 65,000 sq ft complex has a dress code that allows jeans and t-shirts. The casino is a joint venture between Damian Aspinall – the son of the once-owner of Mayfair’s Clermont Club in the 1960s – and the Aussie-based Crown gambling group.
Grosvenor Casino Victoria
Colloquially known as ‘The Vic’, Grosvenor’s Casino Victoria on Edgware Road offers a range of gambling possibilities including blackjack, American roulette and gaming terminals.
Just above The Vic is Grosvenor’s ‘The Poker Room’, a poker den with 35 tables. This is a venue for the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour, one of Europe’s largest poker tournaments.
Entry to The Vic is available to anyone over the age of eighteen with a valid form of ID. Grosvenor themselves are part of The Rank Group and are the largest operator of casinos in UK, with nearly sixty venues located all over the country. Grosvenor also run an online casino with plenty of games including live casino action, and a no-deposit £10 bonus for members of bricks-and-mortar Grosvenor casinos.
Just like the Hippodrome, Grosvenor Casino also runs a popular online site for virtual punters.
The Casino at the Empire
In order to discover a little Vegas-Style fun in Soho, The Casino at the Empire is surely the place you need to be heading. Previously known as the Empire Ballroom, this venue re-opened as a casino with much fanfare in June 2007.
As well as gaming tables, this superb gambling hot-spot has a number of bars (including the Carlsberg Sports Bar) in which to enjoy a cocktail or two, and a well-received Asian restaurant.
The Casino at the Empire is also a top-notch destination for poker players, with its Empire Poker Room. You can buy-in to a table for as little as £50, with blinds set to £1/£2 and a rake capped at five percent. The casino also runs several player promotions, including a monthly cash race where the top-performing poker players are invited back with the chance of winning a £25,000 prize pool.
Picture courtesy of Images Money, with thanks