Empire Casino London Review for April 2024

SlotBoy Fyfe

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SlotBoy Fyfe

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Lee James Gwilliam

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Lee James Gwilliam

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Last Updated on 26th March 2024, 05:22 PM

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One of the more famous, or certainly more recognisable landmarks in London’s Leicester Square, is that of the Empire. Now, it can also be referred to as the Empire Cinema, Empire IMAX, and/or the Empire Casino. With my focus firmly on money and not movies, for my latest venture back to the capital, I spend a few leisurely hours inside the Empire, in the hopes of inflating my wallet. 

Within my review of the Empire Casino, I’ll not only be discussing the history of the venue and what awaits you inside it, but also sharing the benefits of being a member, telling you what amenities are on site, and letting you know how to find this venue when stepping out into the West End. And I’ll be frank and honest about how my visit went down. 

Is this really one of the very best London casinos, or should you step next door and grab some popcorn instead? And how does the experience shape up competitively against the best casino sites? Let’s find out.

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♦️ Casino at the Empire Overview

The Empire in Leicester Square was first built in 1884 and served as a theatre. During the 1920s, the illustrious venue changed and became the cinema that many people know of today. It wasn’t until 2007 that the old ballroom that once hosted many a star-studded guest next door to the cinema was turned into the Empire Casino. Swapping dancing for dice, the Cha-cha-cha for craps, and swing for some of the best casino slots in the UK.

Quick Info

🪪 Membership required:❌ No, but perks with membership
👔 Dress code:✔️ Yes, smart-casual
🏧 Cash machines:✔️ Yes, free to use
💸 Loyalty Programme:✔️ Yes
♿ Wheelchair accessible:✔️ Yes
🍴 On-site restaurant:✔️ Yes
🚬 Smoking areas:✔️ Yes, outdoor terrace

 

The Empire is one of the relatively new UK casinos when compared to the other gambling venues in old London town. The former ballroom holds 55k sq ft of gaming area across two floors, so don’t be fooled by the exterior into thinking it looks tiny. Yes, I confess I was one of those that said, how? But, where? And, eh? But this is a spacious venue indeed.

If you’ve been to Leicester Square in London before, you’ll undoubtedly have noticed this building. Though you may have not set it to memory, it’s impossible to miss. The Empire is perhaps best known for hosting red-carpet events at its cinema, including countless premieres. Many a Hollywood film star has set foot inside the property, along with many C-listed UK celebrities the sort of which did Love Island. The Empire Casino is situated on Leicester Square itself, with a south-facing entrance that looks over the park square.

🛎️ Services and Facilities at Empire Casino London

Upon entry, I was greeted by the security guard and had to flash my ID, because this 43-year-old still retains the same youthful looks of his teenage years. At the service desk, I again had to produce my ID and was asked some general questions about myself and gambling. This is something to be expected, I don’t take it personally and you shouldn’t either. Casinos are highly regulated, and they need to be putting customer interests and safety first.

To ensure you gain access, arrive dressed in smart casual clothing. You can wear jeans and trainers, as long as these are not deemed to be scruffy. Entry is free, no membership is needed whatsoever. But ID checks are to be expected.

 

55K Sq. Ft Venue
2 Entertainment Floors
7+ Weekly Poker Tournaments
100+ Slot/Electronic Games
24/7 Open all Hours

 

Newcomers: I faked not knowing how roulette was played, just to test what kind of response I’d get and was advised that all dealers could discuss the rules if I asked them. I then duly began to speak to the dealer on the blackjack table and asked if he could skim over the rules on how to play and he duly obliged. I can confirm that he did relay the correct rules of the game. 

As a side note, the casino does provide Learn to Play classes. There you and your friends can enjoy lessons, along with a free drink on the house and a £5 free bet.

Food and drink: the ICON Balcony Bar is the place to go for liquid refreshments and food. Aside from the ICON Balcony Bar and its array of cocktails, you also have 7th Cat. Here you can enjoy authentic Asian cuisine. I recommend the Chicken Bao, the Yang Zhou Fried Rice, and the Cantonese Roast Duck. 

Smoking: For those who like to have a smoke or vape now and again, you’ll find that the ICON Balcony Bar has an outside terrace to use. As with all UK public buildings, no smoking is allowed indoors.

Cash machines: If you arrive short of cash, there are ATMs in the casino. You will find cash machines in the poker room.

Accessibility: Wheelchair access is available at front of the house and disabled toilets provided throughout. The building has ample space and is well adjusted for those with accessibility requirements.

I remained at the casino until 10:00pm and I was able to get a good idea of what evening service was like. Firstly, it does get busier and seems to pick up shortly after 8:00pm and the atmosphere was really enjoyable. The tables were busy but not packed, so the place was at that ideal point where plenty of tables are in action yet you don’t wait too long to join one.

🎰 Games at London’s Empire Casino

The games at Empire Casino meet all the criteria for a classic casino experience. Top games here include American roulette, blackjack, baccarat (or punto banco), and three card poker. You also have a vast selection of electronics and slot machines. 

VIP and Loyalty

Empire Casino comes with its VIP Dragon Lounge. This VIP area has its own private entrance and boasts deluxe tables and luxury services. This is a club inside of a club, reserved for the players who can afford high-stakes gaming. To get in, you need a Queen, King, or Ace club card. This is not the only luxury club card in the game, though.

The Met Card comes with four loyalty levels that you can benefit from. You have access to casino events, promotion entry, food discounts, free play for Met Point, and access to the Met Card App. 

The casino is part of the Metropolitan Gaming conglomerate which is owned by the company Silver Point Capital. This is where the Empire MetCard comes from and why Empire can stream live casino games online and provide an online casino service via the Metropolitan Gaming Online website. There you can access live tables like roulette and blackjack, and also play online slots with real money. This online casino I have no experience with, but I was inspired to do my research on it after I had attended the Empire and learned about it.

Standout Poker

One of the more popular gaming areas was the poker room. Here you can access tournaments, and players of this casino can join Team Empire, which can lead you to the WSOP (World Series of Poker) Main Event. This is to play, not watch. Now, the poker service here has to be one of the best you will find in London. The Empire covers everything from Cash Poker games to Live Poker, which you can experience via the Bravo Poker Live app.

This casino operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I was there for a good five hours, and I thoroughly examined the quality and condition of all tables and slots. As you would expect of any business with such operating hours, it wasn’t exactly immaculate. Yes, the tables in some areas could do with some new lining and cloth. But everything’s in good order as a minimum.

♣️ Poker :✔️ Yes
⚪ Roulette:✔️ Yes
🃏 Blackjack:✔️ Yes
🎲 Baccarat:✔️ Yes
🎰 Slots:✔️ Yes, 100+
🎊 Bingo:❌ No
💎 VIP:✔️ Yes, Dragon Lounge
🏆 Tournaments:✔️ Yes

💰 Empire Casino Bonuses and Promotions

If you want the perks of being an Empire member, you just have to join for free and get yourself a MetCard. With this, you will get some benefits that not many other casinos offer. This is one of the unique selling points of this casino - rewards here actually exist, which is rarer than you’d think.

The MetCard is essentially a loyalty rewards scheme. Use of this card when you visit will give you access to food and drink deals, bag you invites to events at the casino, and lots more. 

Away from the card, the Empire is one of the few casinos in London that have poker promotions. For example, if you win by landing a Royal Flush, you will receive an additional £500 in cash. Again, Empire is one of the best casinos in London when it comes to poker. Yes, the casino has its faults, but this really is a place for fans of the game. 

🎇 My Empire Casino Experience

When I arrived at roughly 5:00pm, the casino was quiet. It surprised me because Leicester Square at the time was very much the opposite, as it generally is. I went from game to game and over both floors, there must have been about 50 people in the venue. The place was relatively clean, given that this casino operates around the clock, though perhaps it being quieter makes it much easier to keep it that way. The maintenance of some tables does need looking at, I spotted some minor tears to the lining, and scuffs which were on some interior walls. The bathrooms were spotless, with no real bad points to highlight about the building itself. I did eat inside the 7th Cat restaurant, which I confess was pretty damn good. Comfortably one of the better meals I’ve had inside a UK casino.

Peak Hours

I remained at the casino until 10:00pm and I was able to get a good idea of what evening service was like. Firstly, it does get busier and seems to pick up shortly after 8:00pm and the atmosphere was really enjoyable.  The tables were busy but not packed, so the place was at that ideal point where plenty of tables are in action yet you don’t wait too long to join one. 

Room for Improvement

Now I always check other online reviews before a visit, and the standard of serving cropped up a little too often as a potential pitfall. I must first state that nothing happened to me directly and all my interactions with the team behind the place were pleasant. But I did witness a – shall we say - lively conversation between two staff members which is not something you want to see when it’s played out in front of the public. A unfortunate sour note to an otherwise enjoyable experience.

⭐ Standout Moment

Honestly? The food at 7th Cat. It didn't overshadow the games at all, but was the perfect accompaniment to them. 

cc-icon-tips

Empire Casino Tip

Don't forget the smart-casual dress code. This means no caps, hoodies, ripped jeans, vests, or tracksuits. And definitely don't forget your photo ID. You won't get in otherwise.

💭 My Verdict on Empire Casino

I had been to the Empire Cinema before, but this casino visit was a first for me. What I expected I pretty much got. The site is lovely, and while the building is stripped of many outstanding original features, it still has a very cool look about it. Everything about the decor screams modern, which leaves the casino feeling a little cold for my taste. 

The only surprising thing about this casino is that it was quiet and that players could actually pick up a promotion or two. Whilst there’s no online Empire casino, the company is part of a consortium that’s run by Metropolitan Gaming. This does come with online games, so there’s an additional option and alternative that enables you to collect Met Card points, which you can also collect and spend within the Empire Casino. 

London has many casinos and with the Empire being in such a prime location, you’d think that more effort would go into giving the place a true USP. This casino does not stand out in a way that you might hope it would, and it trades on the prestige of its location and neighbouring cinema a bit too much.

So, why would I recommend the Empire, you ask? Well, promotions from a land-based casino are few and far between. And for that alone, you have to commend the Empire London Casino for doing what so many others don’t. Add in that there's no waiting around for your winnings, something you can expect online even at a fast withdrawal casino, and the Empire shares up well against the online experience.

What I Liked and Didn't Like

Liked
Historic venue in a superb location
A genuinely top quality poker experience
The perks and rewards of membership are fantastic
Didn't Like
Nothing particularly 'wow' about the interior
Service could do with some improvement

🧭 How to Get to Empire Casino in London

To get here, you’re best taking the Underground from wherever you’re staying. You can arrive at nearby Leicester Square via either the Northern Line or the Piccadilly Line. You’ll want to take Exit 2 at the station and when you walk out, turn right then walk around the corner. You will find the casino about 100 yards down the street on your right-hand side. Meanwhile, the nearest national railway station to the casino is Charing Cross. It’s fewer than 10 minutes’ walk. 

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SlotBoy Fyfe
SlotBoy Fyfe
Casino and Slots Reviewer Casino and Slots Reviewer

First off, I am not your typical content writer. I write for you and you alone, simply because I’m a gambler myself and have been for well over two decades. My specialty is found in online slots and football predictions. Those are facts, and I have a bank balance to prove it. I’m here for the new players and the old. I bring stewardship to slot play for those seeking entertainment and opportunity. I am a messiah of money management and I will guide you to the best casino slots online.

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