Crockfords Casino (Closed)

Crockfords Casino, chrisimages
30 Curzon Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 7TN
020 7493 7771

Various known as Crockfords Club and simply Crockfords, Crockfords Casino on Curzon Street closed in 2023. At the time that it shut its doors for the final time, it was considered to be the oldest casino in Britain. It was known as a venue for the rich and famous, with clients including the likes of royalty and aristocracy. Sadly, though, the high-rollers that were needed to keep the casino in the black dried up as the world’s economy took a hit, so Genting, the owners of it, decided that the only thing that they could do was to close down the casino and look to sell the properly that it was based in, which was worth around £80 million.

Founded in the 1800s

There is something quite amusing about the exclusive status that Crockfords attainted when you consider the fact that it was founded by a working class fishmonger. William Crockford founded St James’s Club in 1828, with the aim being for it to be the most ‘opulent palace of gentlemanly pleasure’. It soon became known by his name, with the club closing in 1845. The modern iteration was opened in the latter part of the 1920s, originally being a bridge club created by dissatisfied members of Almack’s bridge club. The name was chosen to honour the venue that had been opened at the same location 100 years before.

A Storied Past

In 1934, the club moved from its location on Hertford Street to 16 Carlton House Terrace. When the Betting & Gaming Act became law in 1961, Crockfords was able to develop from a bridge club into a casino. It gained popularity thanks to the introduction of chemin-de-fer and within a few years it had become the biggest parlour for the variation on baccarat in the world. It closed briefly in 1970, opening a couple of years later with enough room for 400 gamblers at tables that offered roulette, blackjack, craps and more. It moved to 30 Curzon Street in 1983, where it remained up until the point that it closed in 2023.

Headlines for the Wrong Reasons

In 2012, the renowned poker player Phil Ivey turned up at Crockfords and won £7.7 million playing punto banco baccarat. The casino accused him of edge sorting and refused to pay out. Ivey admitted to edge sorting, believing it to be a legitimate strategy, choosing to take the casino to court for his money. The court ruled in favour of Crockfords, declaring that Ivey had been ‘cheating under civil law’. He appealed, but the appeal was lost and Crockfords won the battle over the money. It had, though, but the casino in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons, with some punters doubly put off by the entire process.

Fallen on Hard Times

As was the case for many businesses, the casino struggled in the wake of the global health crisis between 2020 and 2022, while the so-called Tourist Tax that scrapped VAT-free shopping for tourists meant that high-end clients were no longer as keen to visit the English capital as they once had been. With high-rollers choosing the likes of Milan and Paris instead of London, big name casinos such as The Clermont and The Ritz were forced to close their doors. We should perhaps not be all that surprised, therefore, that the same fate has befallen Crockfords. As a result, the venue that once took £11 million from Kerry Packer is no more.

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