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What Was London’s First Casino?

July 28, 2023

Today, finding a place to play a few rounds of roulette or blackjack is easy. You can just whip out your phone, fire up your laptop, or travel a few minutes down the road to your local casino. Back in early 19th-century London, that wasn’t the case.

Apart from the fact that there were no computers, no smartphones, and no internet with which to access an online casino; there were no land-based casinos in Britain’s capital city.

That didn’t mean games didn’t take place. King Henry VIII was known for enjoying a flutter every now and then, and Kings Charles II, James II, and William III even employed royal croupiers to organise card and dice games in their residences.

The first gaming venue that we would recognise as a casino today appeared in London in 1828. Founded by William Crockford, the Crockfords casino opened inside the gentlemen’s club of the same name.

Located in W1, just a short walk from The Ritz, Hyde Park, Green Park, Buckingham Palace, and Harrods, Crockfords is London’s most lavish casino, in the most exclusive part of the city.

It still operates today, and at nearly 200 years old, it is the oldest gaming venue in the British capital.