Hippodrome under threat as casino group eyes venue

Supporters of the current leaseholders of the London Hippodrome are fighting a proposed takeover by a casino company at the end of the year.


United Leisure Gaming won a case last year, opposed by other casinos in central London, to house a gaming centre at the historic venue.

The plan is to revitalise the venue and restore the Frank Matcham-designed venue to some of its early 1900s glory, but the current owners want it kept as a theatre venue and corporate events space.

London Hippodrome MD Charmaine Haig, who owns the lease with business partner Nick Wright, said the aim was to prevent another historic space being " closed forever".

Currently theatre troupe La Clique inhabits the Leicester Square venue, but in the early 1900s the Hippodrome used to feature water spectacles in a huge tank and performances featuring live polar bears and elephants.

Work on the casino is planned as early as summer.

This news comes after former nightclub Equinox, which is a mere 200 metres from the London Hippodrome, was successfully converted into one of the capital's biggest casinos only two years ago.

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