London casinos

When a man is tired of London’s casino scene, he is tired of life.

People have been gambling in London since before the city was founded. Archaeologists have unearthed dice dating back to when the Romans held sway. More recently, Henry VIII got such a kick out of gambling that he gave over many rooms in his royal residencies to gaming.

Casinos as we know them today are a relatively modern London development, however. It was only with the introduction of new legislation in the early 1960s, that gaming houses were able to emerge from the underground. Read More
Given that the industry had so long been dominated by the criminal fraternity, it should come as no surprise that the city’s first casino was owned and run by the notorious Kray twins. It wasn’t until aristocrats such as John Aspinall and James Goldsmith entered the fray that casino-going and casino-ownership became thoroughly respectable endeavours.

With gambling laws having continued to slacken, London is now home to over 20 casinos, the best of which can stand side-by-side with the continent’s finest facilities. Not that these are the only gambling options open to Londoners. Race courses, greyhound stadiums, a raft of football teams and boxing clubs, hundreds of high-street bookmakers – the city is, and always has been, a superb place in which to exercise your right to bet.

And now that some of the wealthiest people on the planet have set up home in London, the city’s casino scene is set to explode once again. While once you had millionaires like Aspinall and Goldsmith, now you have billionaires such as Roman Abramovich and Evgeny Lebedev. And since these men and their ilk like nothing better than to prowl the city’s gaming floors, you can expect the level of action the venues service to grow and grow.

It’s not all good news, though. Look through the following list and you’ll see that old favourites such as The Connoisseur and The Golden Nugget are no longer with us. By the same token, much loved gambling haunts such as the Walthamstow and Catford greyhound stadiums have been put to sleep.

It would seem that, just like the gambler, the gambling house is at the mercy of chance. For the time being, though, the odds on London continuing to become one of the world’s casino capitals look very good indeed.

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Aspers Casino

312 The Loft, Westfield Stratford City, Montfichet Road, Olympic Park, London E20 1EN

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  Opening times:  24 hours, Monday-Sunday

  Telephone:  0208 432 0407


  •   Arguably the finest range of games in the city
  •   A West End venue in London's East End
  •   Pai-Gow tables
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

Is the Westfield Aspers the best casino in Britain? It’s certainly among the most impressive, what with its size and its state-of-the-art design. Then there’s the small matter of its elegant bar and its award-winning restaurant. Factor in a range of games that isn’t bettered anywhere in town and you’ll understand why so many gamblers are sacrificing the West End for Stratford. The poker room alone has to be seen to be believed. And once you’ve taken that in, only a very hard-hearted person would deny the thrill of playing in a venue worthy of the Olympic Park, located just opposite the Westfield Centre.

Aspinalls Casino

27-28 Curzon Street, Mayfair, London W1J 7TJ

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  Opening times:  12pm-6am, Monday-Sunday

  Telephone:  0208 432 0407


  •   Members club
  •   High stakes table gaming
  •   Sumptuous decor
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

There mightn’t be a London casino scene were it not for John Aspinall. And while the late tycoon remains a controversial figure, a visit to the club that shares his name is something of a sacred rite for gambling fans. This is no regular casino, mind you. For one thing, you need to be a member to walk through the doors. For another, since this is a place where people play for very high stakes, you better look a million dollars if you want to take your place at the table. An extraordinary venue with the feel of an exclusive gallery or museum, you won’t be able to die a happy rounder until you’ve played a few hands at Aspinalls.

Casino At The Empire

5-6 Leicester Street, London WC2H 7NA

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  Opening times:  24 hours, Monday-Sunday

  Telephone:  020 3014 1000


  •   Five bars
  •   Superb central location
  •   Close to other West End casinos
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

Located slap-bang in the middle of Leicester Square, you’ll have a hard time missing Casino At The Empire. That upon entering you might lose any desire to leave is a feeling common amongst visitors Less than a decade old it might be but that hasn’t stopped the venue becoming one of the most popular on the circuit. As for why it’s so in vogue, it probably has as much to do with its five – yes, five! - bars as with the superb gaming experience that it offers. Of course, there’s no end of entertainment to be found between Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. But if you can find a way of tearing yourself from The Empire, please tell us how you managed it.

Crockfords Casino Club

30 Curzon Street, Mayfair, London W1J 7AE

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  Opening times:  24 hours, Monday-Friday; 12pm-6am, Saturday-Sunday

  Telephone:  0207 493 7771


  •   Central location
  •   Grade I listed building
  •   Close to other Mayfair gaming houses
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

The oldest private gaming club in the world, Crockfords is a bona fide Mayfair institution. Rather like Aspinalls, it is a place that every gambler needs to experience, if only to remind them of the time before casinos went all glossy and futuristic. A Grade I listed building, the profusion of oak and leather is all the proof you need that this is a place that has stood the test of time. And after sampling its unrivalled wine cellar, eating at its world-class restaurant and taking a seat at any of its many gaming tables, you’ll feel confident that it’ll still be a going concern many decades from now.

G Casino Piccadilly

3-4, Coventry Street, London W1D 6BL

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  Opening times:  24 hours, Monday-Saturday

  Telephone:  020 7287 7887


  •   Set in the heart of London's West End
  •   Excellent transport links
  •   Just across the road from The Empire
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

There’s a good number of Grosvenor venues to be found across London. That the G is the jewel in its crown should become apparent to anyone the moment they stroll into its elegant lobby. That there’s no restaurant will strike some of odd. However, if you’re in the business of playing rather than browsing, the smart range of light meals should prove ideal. And besides, if there’s a better bar in London, we’d be delighted were someone to let us know about it. Like The Empire, it’s located within easy reach of Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. We couldn’t say for certain which casino is better but we’re sure you’ll have plenty of fun trying to find out.

Genting Casino Chinatown

93-107 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 5DY

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  Opening times:  24 hours, Monday-Sunday

  Telephone:  020 7494 3020


  •   Superb central location
  •   Excellent restaurant
  •   Close to other West End casinos
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

London’s Chinatown has a storied history as a venue for illegal gambling. As so much has changed over the passing of the years, it feels rather fitting that this once infamous location should now house a casino as attractive as the Genting. The Malaysian owners theme all of their venues along Asian lines and while it’d be easy for such touches to feel a bit tacky in Chinatown, they actually work rather wonderfully. The restaurant, meanwhile, does a great job of serving up food that rivals that which is produced by the other local eateries. The gaming experience, on the other hand, is as modern as it is satisfying. So, if you think there’s little more to London’s Chinatown than Lee Ho Fook’s and cheesy lanterns, the Genting should change your mind in next to no time.

Grosvenor Barracuda Casino

1 Baker Street, London W1U 8ED

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  Opening times:  12pm-6am, Monday-Saturday

  Telephone:  020 7494 3020


  •   Close to Baker Street tube station
  •   Recently rebranded and refitted
  •   Features one of the city's few Brag tables
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

Were Sherlock Holmes not a fictional character, he and Dr Watson may well have enjoyed the occasional evening at the Grosvenor Barracuda. ‘But didn’t the Barracuda used to be a Gala venue?’ you cry en masse. Yes, it did, but since the Rank Organisation bought out Gala a few years back, it and four other London venues have undergone a name change. Fortunately, whatever other alterations have been undertaken have been solely to improve what was already a very impressive venue. Indeed, though it lacks a poker room, the fact that the Barracuda boasts one of the capital’s few Brag tables ought to make the decision to visit elementary.

Grosvenor Casino Russell Square

61-66 Russell Square, London WC1B 5J

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  Opening times:  2pm-6am, Monday-Saturday

  Telephone:  020 7833 1881


  •   Located close to Russell Square tube station
  •   Showcases 54 roulette tables
  •   Vast gaming floor
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

Located in leafy Fitzrovia, the Grosvenor Russell Square feels like a throwback to the days of the Bloomsbury Set. Famous for featuring the biggest chandelier this side of Only Fools And Horses, the gaming floor has to be seen to be believed, managing as it does to feature an extraordinary 54 roulette tables. In spite of this, the Russell Square Grosvenor feels anything but cramped, and with its bar and restaurant respected beyond gaming circles, the emphasis here is clearly upon taking one’s time. And while some visitors have complained about there being no sports bar, you can only presume these are the sort of people who’d complain about the National Gallery refusing to display that picture of those dogs playing poker. 

Grosvenor Golden Horseshoe

79-81 Queensway, London W2 4QH

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  Opening times:  24 hours, Monday-Saturday

  Telephone:  020 7221 8788


  •   Regular poker tournaments
  •   Live entertainment
  •   Close proximity to Paddington Station
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

They provide a good all-round service at the Golden Horseshoe. You’d be hard pressed to say that they’re particularly excellent at anything – although all elements of their service are agreeable – but if you want a general picture of what a casino can offer, it paints one very effectively. A decent restaurant, an attractive bar, a good range of games, regular tournaments and live entertainment - this Grosvenor venue could do worse than bill itself as a perfect starter casino. Not that experienced punters won’t also like certain elements of it, such as its pleasingly close proximity to Paddington Station.

Grosvenor St Giles Casino

262 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7RG

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  Opening times:  24 hours, Monday-Saturday

  Telephone:  020 7299 7600


  •   Just off Oxford Street
  •   Close to Tottenham Court Road tube station
  •   Widely praised wine list
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

Formerly the Gala Tottenham Court Road, you’ll find the Grosvenor St Giles just across the road from the tube station. And an unbeatable location isn’t the only thing the venue has going for it. For besides offering bar snacks the quality of which you rarely encounter, the wine list would shame many a top restaurant. A word of warning, however – the St Giles is a casino where gambling is the first order of business. You won’t find anything in the way of live music or big screens, here. People come here to bet, and depending on your interest in punting, that too might be a sizeable tick in its box.

Grosvenor Victoria Casino

150-162 Edgware Road, London W2 2DT

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  Opening times:  24 hours, Monday-Saturday

  Telephone:  020 762 7777


  •   Showcases one of London's few remaining Craps tables
  •   Two gaming floors
  •   Supremely elegant dining room
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

Called ‘The Vic’ by those who frequent it, this Grosvenor venue boasts not one but two gaming floors. It also deserves props – do you people still give those, props? – for hosting a Craps table, something that’s now as rare in British casino circles as rocking horse refuse. The Dining Room, on the other hand, is a restaurant with rare style and elegance. As good as all of the above sounds, it’s the extensive variety of tournaments and promotions that puts this place in a league of its own. Put another way, this West End Vic gives its EastEnd namesake a real run for its money.

Hippodrome Casino

1 Cranbourn Street, London WC2H 7AJ

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  Opening times:  24 hours, Monday-Saturday

  Telephone:  0207 769 8888


  •   Right next to Leicester Square tube station
  •   Close to Leicester Square's two other casinos
  •   A-list clientele
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

The Hippodrome’s gone through its fair share of changes over the years. The upside of this is that the venue – located virtually on top of Leicester Square tube station – now plays host to one of London’s top casinos. Besides three gaming floors – one of which is solely dedicated to poker – the venue is also home to the Heliot, a superb restaurant and perhaps the only eatery in the world named after a lion-tamer. And then there’s the live entertainment, which has in the past – and we’re not making this up – ranged from Sir Bruce Forsyth to the artist currently known again as Prince. Little wonder the Hippodrome won the Casino Of The Year award in 2012. Repeat success wouldn’t be unexpected.

Les Ambassadeurs Casino

5 Hamilton Place, London W1J 7ED

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  Opening times:  24 hours, Monday-Saturday

  Telephone:  020 7495 5555


  •   One of London's oldest gaming houses
  •   Top-of-the-range restaurant
  •   Near to the city's other A-list venues
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

A going concern since the 1800s, Les Ambassadeurs continues to offer high-end gambling entertainment to the few that can afford it. An exclusive members’ only venue, this is a place for playing for very high stakes. ‘Les A’, as the regulars call it, changed hands in the mid-noughties and is now a little less exclusive than it used to be. Still, you’d better be done up to the nines if you want to walk the gaming floor. With the amenities including a classy bar and a top-of-the-range restaurant, you might be surprised to find that Les A stages few events. The reason for this, presumably, is that a visit to Les Ambassadeurs is an event in and of itself.

Maxims Casino Club

Palace Gate House, Palace Gate, London W8 5LS

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  Opening times:  24 hours, Monday-Saturday

  Telephone:  020 7495 5555


  •   Monte Carlo-style casino
  •   Among the city's plushest venue
  •   Members club
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

From the huge ‘Members Only’ sign by the front door, you should be able to ascertain that Maxims is an exclusive gaming club. If you pass over the threshold you will find a casino steeped in Victoriana. But then old skool class is what you expect from a venue situated in the heart of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Considered the closest thing London has to a Monte Carlo casino, Maxims doesn’t just boast an excellent gaming floor, it’s one of the few places in town where you can hire a private gaming table. Not available to everyone then, but if you ever have the opportunity to visit, we urge you to seize it. With both hands.

Napoleons Casino

1 Leicester Square, London WC2H 7NA

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  Opening times:  24 hours, Monday-Saturday

  Telephone:  020 7494 3126


  •   Vegas-style casino
  •   Right in the heart of the West End
  •   Nightly Mahjong sessions
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

Should you ever fancy a ‘casino crawl’, Leicester Square would be a great place to have one. It’s certainly chockfull of venues. Having been up and running since the 1980s, Napoleons is among the area’s oldest establishments. And fittingly, the ‘80s is what it recalls, with its red velvet carpet echoing the plushness of the Vegas casinos of that era. Sure, the gaming floor’s a little cramped, but it’s great to find so much room being given over to 007’s favourite card game, Baccarat. And with nightly Mahjong sessions, Napoleons is the favourite destination of many of the people who live and work in the neighbouring Chinatown.

Palm Beach Casino

30 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, London W1J 8EH

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  Opening times:  24 hours, Monday-Sunday

  Telephone:  0207 493 6585


  •   Celebrated Mayfair venue
  •   Among the oldest casinos in Europe
  •   Near to the area's other acclaimed venues
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

Another famed Mayfair casino, the Palm Beach is now part of the Genting chain. As such, it now possesses a superb Asian restaurant, plus an online casino that is the envy of the industry. It’s to the credit of the new Malaysian owners that, in adding the odd Genting flourish to the Palm Beach, they have retained much of what makes it such a historic gambling venue. Indeed, the only major change they have introduced is to make the casino slightly less exclusive. No doubt this has upset a few bluebloods, but it’s a wonderful thing for the punter who’s always longed to visit a Mayfair casino but always feared they might appear a little incongruous.

Playboy Club Casino

14 Old Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1ND

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  Opening times:  24 hours, Monday-Sunday

  Telephone:  0207 491 8586


  •   Part of Hugh Hefner's fabled empire
  •   Players' lounge and piano bar
  •   Acclaimed Judy Joo restaurant
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

Hugh Hefner opened his first UK Playboy Club in London in the 1960s. For a few years in was *the* place to be seen in town, but then tastes changed, the economy dipped and Hef decided to quit the UK. This ‘reboot’ opened in the mid-noughties and is doing a roaring trade. True, membership comes with a cost but you get an awful lot for your outlay. A Players' Lounge, a Judy Joo Korean restaurant, a piano bar – anyone with a pulse can have a great time at the Playboy Club. As for the gambling, the gaming floor is advertised as ‘world class’ and you’d struggle to argue otherwise. Yep, it’s good to have you back, Hef. Now, don’t run out on us again, y’hear?

The Clermont Casino Club

44 Berkeley Square, London W1J 5AR

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  Opening times:  1pm-4am, Monday-Sunday

  Telephone:  0207 493 5587


  •   Highly exclusive venue
  •   As much gentlemen's club as gaming house
  •   Historically significant venue
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

Though there are plenty of ‘Premiership’ casinos in London, the Clermont Club is the gaming house equivalent of Wembley Stadium. To swish through its hallowed doors is to follow in the footsteps of men like John Aspinall, James Goldsmith and, ahem, Lord Lucan. A private members club, it’s probably easier to enter the vault at the Bank of England. Should you get the once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit it, expect to find a refreshingly quiet venue, as much gentlemen’s club as gambling house. The venue itself is notable for being the last surviving townhouse designed by William Kent. A stunning building, beautiful décor – the fact that the range of games is small is neither here nor there. The Clermont is simply la crème de la crème. Pity you need a silver spoon to enjoy it.

The Colony Casino Club

24 Hertford Street, Mayfair, London W1J 7SA

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  Opening times:  24 hours, Monday-Sunday

  Telephone:  0207 495 5000


  •   World-famous club restaurant
  •   Private gaming suites available
  •   Surrounded by five-star hotels
  • 3 Card Brag
  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Kalooki
  • Mah Jong
  • Pai Gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

Another top-flight venue, The Colony Club could pass as shorthand for sophistication. Located in the heart of London’s five-star hotel district, the Colony’s membership fee, like the length of its waiting list, might well cause you to raise both eyebrows. But as with the other Mayfair venues, you really do get what you pay for. For although there are bigger gaming floors in town, few are as well laid out, and should you ever enter one of the private suites, you’ll get a tantalising glimpse of punter’s paradise. And if you’re wondering why the club restaurant is world famous, the first couple of mouthfuls ought to confirm why. Exclusive and expensive, then, but since the Colony is now a Genting venue in all but name, you can expect it become less of both with the passing of time.