Simon Thomas Chief Executive, Hippdodrome Casino
June last year, as Britain emerged from its first population and business lockdown, the country’s prime minister, Boris Johnson called for a programme
of societal renewal under the slogan ‘build back better’. While the current priority for hard-hit casino operators is survival rather than reinvention, the recently commenced Gambling Act review – which seeks to
ensure legislation is ‘fit for the digital age’ – provides an opportunity to support the rhetoric of renewal with action. As Simon Thomas, CEO and chairman of London’s Hippodrome Casino articulates, ambition
and innovation have never been more important for the future of Britain’s casino entertainment sector.
At the Hippodrome, we have been ‘building back better’ since 2009 when we first started work on the restoration and rebirth of our iconic West End entertainment venue. From the very first day of trading
in 2012, we have been engaged in a process of renewal I – the result of listening closely to our customers and seeking inspiration from around the world.
For large parts of the last 14 months, my team and I have been unable to do the work that we love – providing unforgettable entertainment experiences for customers from around the world – but we have
used the time on our hands to good effect. While the Hippodrome was locked down, we pressed on with our plans to transform our small, two-level roof terrace into a much larger, three-level roof garden (expanding
our covered heated outdoor entertainment space from 100 square meters to 245 square meters). This has involved the addition of two new bars, four more outdoor gaming tables and some gaming terminals high
up above Leicester Square – the top level with stunning views across the rooftops of Soho.
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