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As early as the sixteenth century, London was a hotbed for gamers of all disciplines and denominations. Henry VIII was forced to impose a ban on playing cards and dice for his soldiers as he saw it as too harmful of a distraction on them while doing their day job – that of protecting him and his country. Since then a lot has changed in the capital, but one thing that certainly hasn’t is its love for games of skills, thrills and chance. So as we head to the close of the first quarter of the 21st century, where are the must go to places for the modern day gamers?
The list of high quality casinos in London is as long as your arm, and one that continues to change and grow. Any list is always going to be subjective, but here are some of the most iconic and breath-taking destinations for anyone wanting to chance their arm on the roulette wheel, the poker or the blackjack tables or simply wanting to soak up the atmosphere and history.
One of the oldest casinos and certainly the most glamorous, Mayfair’s Les Ambassadeurs, has played host to royalty, millionaires and the cream of society for two centuries. Staying in Mayfair, the Palm Beach has gained a reputation for being one of the best casinos not just in London but in Europe, and offers punters the option of hosting their very own poker party at one of their private tables. Another casino as famed for its clientele and history as much as for its tables is Maxims Casino Club in Knightsbridge, while at the other end of the spectrum is the UK’s first “super casino” – Aspers. Located in Stratford’s Westfield Shopping Centre, it boasts 70 tables and 300 slots and gaming terminals.
Many casinos also offer fine dining and luxury bars, so there is no need to actively take part… but when in Rome as they say, so it’s maybe worth learning the ropes or brushing up on the rules.
More and more bars dedicated to video games are springing up around the city. For the relaxed player, The Loading Bar in Stoke Newington offers free arcade games to its customers, as well as hosting several themed events. More competitive gamers, especially lovers of eSports, should make a beeline to Meltdown on Caledonian Road. Last but not least is the 600+ capacity Gfinity Arena in Fulham Broadway. The country’s first dedicated eSports arena plays host to regular events that attract some of the best players on the globe, who strut their digital stuff before a rapt audience.
The demise of dog racing in London is a long and sad story, and one that has been well documented. Suffice to say, that unless you get yourself down to Wimbledon in the coming months, you may never be able to witness the unique experience of greyhound racing again in the nation’s capital. It´s true that strictly speaking Romford is still in London, but the RM7 postcode leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth.