There are some 15 casinos in London, 3 of which are located in Leicester Square: The Casino at the Empire (or the Empire casino, for short), Napoleon’s Casino and the Hippodrome Casino. The Empire Casino being one of the most famous casinos in London, I decided to make it my first casino of the evening. One thing that struck me immediately, and that might be of interest to our Asian readers, is that the crowd at the casino was predominantly Asian. The same is right for the Napoleon casino next door.
Admission Empire Casino London
The Empire Casino is located underground. A staircase leads down to the casino from the street level. I showed my ID at the entrance. Admission is free, but I was asked whether I would like to become a member. I refused politely and walked in.
Atmosphere Empire Casino London
The Empire Casino is spread over three levels. The top level is basically a gallery overlooking the casino. On the gallery, there is a bar offering a nice variety of drinks, some slot machines and a sports betting lounge. There was not much happening at the sports betting lounge. Looking down from the gallery, I could see that the casino was well attended. The lower levels looked spacious, bright and friendly, the design dominated by the typical casino-purple.
Going down the stairs from the gallery, on the middle level, there is a second bar, with less variety than the gallery bar. So, if you are looing for a drink, you better go all the way up to the gallery. Looking around, I was surprised to see that the cloth covering most casino tables was scruffy.
There was a raffle at the casino during my visit. The first three winners were not present, so the raffle game stretched on for quite a long time. The fourth person whose name was drawn was present, however. He was shown into a glass box with bills swirling in the air and tried to catch as many of them as possible. Honestly, I found the whole thing annoying.
Roulette Empire Casino London:
At the time of my visit, plenty Roulette tables were open. I saw both seating and standing Roulette tables. The Maximum bets were £300 for plain, £2,500 for column and £5,000 for easy chances. The minimum was £1. Many relatively young patrons played for smaller amounts, yet everything went smoothly.
Blackjack Empire Casino London:
I counted at least eight open Blackjack tables at the Empire Casino, with a minimum of £5, £10 or £25 and a maximum bet of £1,000. Some players were sitting at the £25 minimum table, but when the ruffle began (see above), the table emptied quickly.
Casino Poker Empire Casino London
Casino Poker was also played at the Empire Casino at the time of my visit. I saw the 3 cards Poker and Casino Holdem variants. The maximum was £500, the highest I’ve seen in London casinos to date.
Punto Banco Empire Casino London:
I got the impression that Punto Banco is what draws Asian players to the casino. At least seven Punto Banco tables were open. The limits were £5 – £25. Minimum égalité bet was £5, and the maximum was £500, with a payout of 9:1. The crowd at the Punto Banco tables was predominantly Asian and relatively young, similar to the rest of the casino. If you are looking to play Punto Banco with older players and with higher limits, head to the Napoleon Casino next door. There, also, Punto Banco players are predominantly Asian. To read more about my experience at the Napoleon Casino, click here.
Slot machines Empire Casino London
As mentioned before, there are some slot machines in the gallery at the top level of the casino. I would estimate the number to be about 20 video slots. Another 30 slot machines are also located in the Poker room (see below), mostly Gaminator stations.
Poker Empire Casino London
The Poker room at the Empire casino in not located at the main casino area. To get to the Poker room, at the entrance to the casino, don’t take the left turn that leads to the main casino area. Instead, continue straight ahead past the reception.
I counted at least 8 open tables. A spirited game seemed to be going on at all of them. The clicking of the chips relaxed me immediately. The crowd at the tabled was mixed, of no particular age group or origin. I saw no limit Texas Holdem with 1 / 1 or 1 / 2. When I turned to leave the room, the guy at the reception seemed somewhat dismayed, as if he hoped I would find my choice among the 8 no limit tables that were in operation. Although I didn’t play, I had a very good impression of the Poker room.
Al in all I found the casino worth a visit when in London. The Chinese restaurant at the Empire looked very authentic. If you ate there, I would be grateful if you dropped a comment to let us know about your experience.