Golden Nugget Casino, London – now closed

Last updated: 19 November 2014
Closed casino which used to be a contender

Before you go:

Reg/Walk In: Walk in
Cashout at Machines: Coupons
Dress Code: Smart casual
Rewards Programme: Yes
Parking: Pay and display + congestion charge
Restaurants: Yes
Bars: Yes

Address: 22-23 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 7EJ
Telephone: 44 2074390099

Sadly the Golden Nugget has now closed, but we enjoyed writing the review so much we thought we’d leave it up for posterity.


Are you ready to go back ? Way, way back, past the noughties, past the nineties with the Spice Girls through the eighties and Queen, possibly even through the seventies and – who knows ? You may just be ready for a trip to the Golden Nugget Casino, just next to the Trocadero behind Leicester Square.

The first challenge, once you’re past reception (open door policy) is to find the lift –you don’t really want to be climbing the 52 steps that get you to the gaming floor (plus an optional extra 16 for the Gents toilets). When you emerge, winded, from the top of the staircase, the vista that welcomes you seems to have appeared straight out of Starsky and Hutch – the original, not the Snoop Dogg version – you expect Robert De Niro to wander past in a minging pastel suit from the era of the Casino movie. Maybe even Sharon Stone popping a sly Dutch wink in the corner – or maybe that was another movie. Who cares …

The décor is basically red, with a gold ceiling, designed to appeal no doubt to the denizens of nearby Chinatown, and successfully so judging from the clientele. It’s a very odd offer, but with the location as it is, they have historically been profitable, although the arrival of several new casinos will no doubt have made life much more difficult for them. The punters there may also not be too bright – the simplest trick in the book, offering a £1 double zero roulette table next to a £2 single zero roulette table (therefore halving the house edge), resulted naturally in the terrible value £1 table being crowded with lemmings eager to donate.

Given the nature of the place, it is an interesting decision to name the bar, “Retro”. Without seeing the place, you’d think the name was stylish, perhaps even funky.  Having had a tour around, I think I’d go with “Literal”. The restaurant looks nice enough, although I think you get an idea of the plan when you see that they have a Wetherspoon’s style Curry night. There’s also a fun feature for those of us who struggle with the ratio function on our tvs – the 3:4, cinema style settings that always seem to make people in the picture look too tall and thin or short and fat – one of the tvs showing the roulette wheels has unaccountably put the wheel on its side. Either that or they have set the gravity differently on site, a neat trick.

The slots are tucked into the left hand corner of what is essentially a large, square room, and glory in the most uncomfortable set of seats I’ve ever seen or had the pleasure of parking my backside upon. If you can play for longer than 20 minutes, you truly do have buns of steel, and if they weren’t before, they’ll feel like they are after.