After nearly two centuries, Crockfords Casino, a venerated institution within London’s prestigious Mayfair, has now closed its doors. This establishment, known as Britain’s oldest casino, has served as a gambling den to the affluent and noble since 1828. The decision comes shortly after iGaming,org already reported about its uncertain future a month ago.
Genting Casinos, the proprietors of Crockfords, have attributed the closure to a downturn in the influx of upscale visitors and gamblers — a challenge that has also led to the shuttering of other high-stakes venues in the vicinity, such as The Ritz and The Clermont Club. Paul Willcock, President of Genting Casinos, remarked on the challenges faced by such establishments, asserting that a variety of factors have rendered the high-end casino market in London less competitive on a global scale, thereby jeopardizing the viability of Crockfords in its historic Mayfair location.
The legacy of Crockfords commenced with its founder William Crockford, who transformed his fortunes from a fishmonger to one of the richest men in England through the creation of this gaming house. Initially envisioned as a gentlemen’s club, it became a hub for the influential to gather, engage in conversation, and indulge in games of chance. Over the years, it became a hallmark for luxury gaming, famed for its grand decor and exquisite offerings in food and drink.
Phil Ivey, the celebrated poker champion with ten World Series of Poker bracelets to his name, is perhaps one of the casino’s most famous patrons in recent history. Ivey’s time at Crockfords was marked by a controversial $11 million win at a Punto Banco table. However, the casino withheld his earnings amidst allegations of ‘edge sorting’ — a technique where a player uses subtle card design flaws to anticipate high and low-value cards. Ivey then started legal proceedings to secure his winnings with the UK’s Supreme Court. He ultimately lost the case and did not receive one penny of his winnings.
Sir William Gregory, a 19th-century politician and writer, fondly recollected his membership at Crockfords in his autobiography, describing the club as the pinnacle of fashion and refinement. He narrated how members indulged in gratuitous suppers and champagne after midnight, followed by gambling sessions that saw many fortunes made and lost.
Crockfords’ story is not just about its illustrious past; it also encompasses high-profile gambling sagas like that of Australian media mogul Kerry Packer, who reportedly lost a staggering $16.5 million in a single spree in 1999.
The shuttering of Crockfords marks the end of an epoch in Britain’s gambling history, turning the page on a chapter where aristocrats and tycoons once diced with fortune beneath its gilded ceilings.
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