While you might think of Macau or Las Vegas as bucketlist gaming destinations, the UK also has some incredibly exciting land based casinos. And with a history that dates back millennia, home to Empires which owned the grandest riches, you’ll find many casinos in London in grandiose and glamorous old world buildings.
London is an incredibly friendly city for the casino tourist; you can not only play on casino websites that aren’t with GamStop but also access many exclusive clubs, rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, and gambling alongside celebrities.
While online gaming has been putting land based industries out of business in many countries, physical casinos still constitute a significant part of the total casino market in the UK. For the gambling enthusiast who’s feeling lucky in London, here is a list of the most popular casinos in the city.
1. The Hippodrome Casino
The London Hippodrome is an icon of the West End. It’s the biggest entertainment venue in the UK, and the reasons to visit go well beyond the casino; there’s the best steak house in London, a boozy tea room, and you can also catch a show.
One of the country’s most significant historic buildings, there are a number of gaming locations throughout the 5 floors of the 1900s grand theater. The world class gaming here includes slots, poker, and electronic games; visit Grand Casino within the original auditorium, ‘The Gods’ which is on top of the building overlooking the main gaming floor, or Lola’s Casino in the basement which has a speakeasy vibe.
There are over 100 electronic gaming machines, which include all of the latest slots. You can play electronic roulette, black jack, and then there’s also a unique 50,000 GBP minimum tombola roulette progressive. It has a bingo style tumbler and you can spin your own numbers.
Table games include Baccarat, roulette, blackjack, TCP Stud and craps. It also has the only Dice Table in London and a dedicated cash desk.
You can visit the Hippodrome Casino 24 hours a day, 7 days a week except for Christmas Day. As this land-based casino was awarded Best Casino at Totally Gaming Awards in 2013, it’s definitely worth a visit.
2. Grosvenor St Giles Casino
Millions of tourists visit the Hippodrome every year, so if you’re after a smaller casino, but still with a full range of exciting games, check out the Grosvenor St Giles Casino in Tottenham Court Road.
This casino has been newly refurbished, so it’s modern, stylish, and caters to every taste. It’s on the West End, and if you’re staying at the hotel you can access the casino directly from the lobby.
As part of the renovations, there’s a splendid new gaming floor where you can play popular games like Blackjack, American Roulette, Punto Banco, Shoot Dice, and Three-card poker. They also have the best electronic gaming machines, and a bar open until 10 pm.
Locals head here for live sport, as the casino broadcasts live matches from Premier League Football, Rugby, Formula One, Boxing, and Cricket (though we won’t talk about England’s humiliating loss in this year’s ashes!)
3. Horizons Casino
Horizons Casino is a new casino in the heart of London’s Leicester Square. It has more than 400 gaming machines and 10 table games including blackjack, baccarat, and roulette.
Their website has an extensive section teaching you how to play each game, which is well with checking out before you arrive if you’re a beginner, or want to try your luck at the tables for the first time. You can learn how to play American roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and three card poker. They also provide a guide to the minimum and maximum bets for each table game.
There is no formal dress code here, and while they ‘strongly recommend that you become a member to make the most of all the benefits’, you don’t actually have to be a member to visit.
You’ll need ID if you look under 21 (don’t we all wish!), or if you plan to gamble more than £1,500. If you’re an international visitor this will need to be your passport.
The staff here are incredibly friendly, and the service is some of the best in the country; if you’re unsure of how to play, ask the dealers and they’ll be happy to explain. There’s also super-fast guest WiFi throughout the casino, so you can pull up the guides on their website for a refresher.
4. The Palm Beach Casino
Palm Beach Casino is one of the top poker clubs in London, and it’s one of the most prestigious in the country, located in the upper class district of Mayfair.
It’s an exclusive casino, though membership is free (ask at the front desk upon entry), and you can head in from midday until 5 pm, every day of the week.
It has a luxury gaming floor which includes blackjack, American roulette, and three card poker. You can also join high stakes games in a private room for more intimacy.
Their website lists all the minimum and maximum bets so you can prepare before you head in. There’s then a bar and a restaurant which serves award winning food and is a reason to visit just to eat (award-winning Executive Chef Mahmud Zaman has put together an indulgent menu of Indian and South Asian cuisine – there’s a bar and grill if you want something more relaxed).
5. Empire Casino
Launched in 2008, Empire Casino is a lively casino which arguably has the hottest gaming in London. It’s in the center of Leicester Square in the heart of the city, and with a massive 55,000 square feet, you can enjoy blackjack, American Roulette, Punto Banco, slots, electronic games, and a Poker Room.
They’re open 24 hours, 7 days a week, so there’s round-the-clock action at all hours of the day, and entry is free (you’ll need ID to enter after 9 pm). Dress code is smart casual, so you don’t need to dress up, but won’t be let in if you look, in their words, ‘scruffy’.
The casino is spread across 2 floors, with the main floor offering 31 gaming tables. There are 20 slot machines on each floor, and 90 electronic roulette machines. There’s a DJ every Friday and Saturday at the Icon Balcony Bar from 10 pm until late.