The legendary London casino The Ritz Club has left a number of clients – including actors, politicians and celebrities – out of pocket to the tune of £780,000 after closing in June 2020.
The famous venue was closed in the summer as part of the national restrictions, and Ritz officials later confirmed that the casino would be closed for good.
The announcement was met with shock and presumably some dismay from the club’s many members, who reportedly include Bill Clinton, Al Pacino and Johnny Depp, as well as a number of billionaires from around the globe. Some £780,000 was owed to members, according to reports published in The Metro and backed up by the UK Gambling Commission, and the likelihood is that those debts will now not be settled with the casino out of business.
A spokesperson for the Commission said:
“The total outstanding amount owed to gamblers at the Ritz Club at the time of your original request was £781,585. This is the latest information that we hold. We do not hold information relating to the individual amounts owed to each customer.”
It has been suggested that a large chunk of that money is owed to punters who hit a progressive jackpot, and the Commission has advised those involved to ‘consider whether the operator has breached contractual obligations and, if so, seek compensation.’
The British satirical magazine Private Eye, as part of a freedom of information act request, also found out that more than £400,000 in winnings was owed to just two players – one who landed £225,000 while playing blackjack and £185,000 to a three-card poker winner.
The Ritz Club – Home to the Stars
You’ve probably heard of The Ritz Hotel – the 5 star hotel in Mayfair that has played host to some of the most revered movers and shakers from the worlds of politics, business and the arts.
In the basement of the hotel is The Ritz Club, the casino and gamehouse, which when licensed to Mecca Sportsman and Pleasurama in the 1970s was restored to its original, opulent Louis XVI style of decoration – complete with more than 6,000 sheets of gold leaf.
Details of what goes on in The Ritz are sketchy – available only to hotel guests and private members, the casino has been shrouded in a veil of secrecy. It is known that the Barclay brothers, who own businesses including the Telegraph Media Group, Very and Yodel, brought the hotel in 1995 and prided themselves in retaining the Ritz Club as one of the most exclusive members’ clubs on the planet.
Unfortunately, the club began to fall on hard times and posted losses of more than £8 million in 2018 and £11 million the following year, and the Barclays were forced to invest £8 million of their own money into the casino to keep it afloat.
The hotel – and the club – were sold to a consortium from Qatar in March 2020, although a year later The Ritz Club was closed as the global crisis was unleashed on the public.
It has been rumoured that the closure may be set to come to an end soon, however, with Hard Rock Café taking over the licence in January 2021.