Meanwhile the London scene remains on hold. A takeover bid by London Clubs International, owner of Les Ambassadeurs and the Ritz Club, for its main rival, Capital Corporation, operator of Crockford's and the Colony, has been referred to the Monopolies Commission. Bad news for LCI, which had hoped to collar high-roller gaming in Mayfair (apart from Aspinall's) for itself, like a private game. The delay offers Ladbroke's, only recently back in casinos, a chance to make a bid on its own account. With thriving casino interests in the US and international hotels, the group has ambitions to become a major player. London is the solid home base for expansion abroad.
The casinos of the "Mayfair strip" are on a winning streak, thanks to the steady influx of high-rollers, mainly from the Far East and the Arab world. Such players will bet up to pounds 2,000 on a single number at roulette or up to pounds 50,000 a box at blackjack. (British punters don't have that kind of money.) Sometimes they win very big. But the casinos know that if these premium customers return, as they usually do, they are unlikely to hang on to their winnings for long. LCI believes that if it gained control of the high-roller market, it could smooth out the swings of fortune between one casino and another. In any case, it plans to move the Ritz Club under a new name to palatial new premises in St. James's Street next summer. The story is not over yet.Reuse content