Empire Casino - Leicester Square, London

Recently Updated Jan & April 2012

I am a relatively frequent visitor to the Empire Casino (or Casino At The Empire to give it it's proper title!) and it's one of my favourites. OK, so no UK casino will compare to Vegas but as casinos over here go, Empire is decent. And owned by London Clubs International who also own another casino I frequent regularly and have reviewed here, the Rendezvous Casino in Brighton.

The Empire doesn't have an online casino right now but most of the games are available to play online (generally with better payout settings too): roulette and table games can be played on sites like Virgin Games while slots like Cleopatra, Kitty Glitter and Pharaohs Fortune are all available on BetVictor's website.

There is a good-sized gaming floor downstairs and a mezanine area with slots and electronic gaming machines plus a comfortable (but not cheap!) bar. There is a second bar on the gaming floor downstairs too and quite often, masseuses to help you de-stress (for a price!). There are two cashiers, one up by the slots, one down but the upstairs one is only open at busy times.

And busy it can get, attracting all types from the quiet pensioner to the annoying chav! It compares favourably in this regard to the quieter and more opulent Palm Beach Casino over in Mayfair which I felt was a tad too posh but perhaps doesn't quite achieve the ambience that Barracuda casino (also in Mayfair) does.

Generally they are a good and pleasant crowd when I have been in there (except once when a drunk guy was harassing slots players - he soon got thrown out but that's one issue with being so central and having an open-door policy).

Like most UK casinos now, anyone can walk in off the street although unlike the nearby Grosvenor Casino in Piccadilly you don't *have* to produce photo ID at the Empire Casino unless you want a membership/loyalty card. There is a cloakroom on the way in (smoking outside the front only) and a reception desk. The staff are generally very friendly although the waitresses can vary. Non-alcoholic drinks are free while you are playing. I don't drink alcohol so can't vouch for whether they are free but I suspect not.

I'd guess there are around 15-20 tables downstairs and the licence-restricting 20 slots upstairs plus another 30 or so electronic gaming machines (roulette mainly). I actually prefer the Empire's gaming machine layout to it's closest competitor, The Hippodrome Casino and what with the extra 20 games downstairs (see later in this review) it's a decent location for slot gamers.

As of October 2012, the slots at Empire include a couple of Cleopatra machines and Pharaohs Fortune plus a few IGT mult-game machines with Arctic Fox, Cats, Diamond Queen etc. There was no sign of the old Rainbow Riches slot unless it was hidden away but a new Diversity slot machine had been installed.

Initially I thought they'd ousted the Novomatic Gaminator slots but on the way out (it was a brief visit this time) I noticed 2 of them tucked away in a corner of the slots area. There is also the old "Napoleons" casino downstairs which is essentially just an extension to Empire and I think among the 20 machines down there you will find more Gaminators. Incidentally, Novomatic games are notoriously volatile so you might find the Novomatic game volatility chart a useful read!

Slots UK has more info on many of the slot machines found at Casino At The Empire while a few of these, including Pharaohs Fortune, Cleopatra and Rainbow Riches can be played for free on the website Games & Slot Machines in your browser.

A UK casino licence currently stipulates a maximum of 20 slot machines allowed on the premises which is obviously restrictive, especially for a casino like Empire in the hub of the West End (Leicester Square) but they had a cunning plan. As previously alluded to, Empire bought a second licence for a small casino downstairs and kinda merged it, although it's a seperate entity and has a seperate (internal) entrance. So, 20 more slots in there and quieter too. Plus a poker room! Only one casino I know of in London has more games than the Empire Casino and that is Aspers Casino in Stratford which has one of the new licences and thus, 150 slot games + 40 gaming tables. But it's a trek (worth taking if you like slots).

Summary:

Empire Casino, London reviewed by Simmo on Oct 31st, 2012.

My favourite London casino and friendly too. Perfectly situated on Leicester Square's northern edge, the Empire is a very nicely laid out casino from LCI with friendly staff and good service. For a UK casino it's a good size but because of it's location it gets very busy at times (Upd. Apr 2012)

Rating: 4.0

Empire Casino, Leicester Square
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