The Hippodrome is one of the most exciting developments in recent years to hit London. The current owners are putting the historic venue (See the Hippodrome’s Wikipedia entry) through a multi-million pound refurbishment to create what promises to be one of the premier entertainment destinations in London.
The Hippodrome has a long history as an entertainment venue in London, having been originally built back in 1900. Believe it or not (ironic, since Ripley’s is round the corner) was originally used as a circus venue, with a massive water tank in the centre (I’ve seen it – it’s big) that was used for shows with acrobatic divers and elephants.
The building was then converted into a theatre and had a variety of occupants, including the famous ‘Talk of the Town’, before succumbing to Peter Stringfellow and becoming a nightclub until 2005. The redevelopment plans to take the Hippodrome back to its glory days, with a stage for cabaret style acts, a first class restaurant from Gordon Ramsey and top quality casino games.
The New Casino
The plans for the Hippodrome Casino look pretty impressive & we’ve even had a tour through the building site – and it certainly looks like it’s going to be something special. It’s not due to be finished until late 2011, however, not to fear, they’ve launched their online casino several months ahead of the completion date. This is planned to be integrated with the casino (once it’s been built!), meaning that you’ll be able to withdraw your funds there, as well as play at the tables, and enjoy the evening’s entertainment. For now, we’ll just concentrate on the online bit.
Licencing and Security
The Hippodrome’s online casino is licenced in Malta, who are on the UK governments’ whitelist of approved gambling regulators, so you can take comfort in the fact that they have someone watching over them to make sure that the games are fair.
At present, the Hippodrome’s online casino doesn’t have any third party verification certificates on their site, however, as noted below, the software is from a company that is owned by Lottomatica – the Italian Lottery operator; they are a huge company and operate their own gaming services, so you can take comfort in this that the software will be fair and above board.
Currently, Boss Media’s software is in use at the casino. This is not the most popular software out there, but it is part of the excellent Gtech G2 group, who in turn are part of Lottomatica (- for more information, check out our page on Gtech G2 Casinos).
Also offered is a poker client. When the real world casino is up and running, the Hippodrome are planning to run poker tournaments that will culminate in the final rounds being played out in the casino itself! There’s a whole floor planned for poker, right at the top of the building which will offer some of the best views in the house!
The transactions with the online casino are handled by a company called WebDollar who use 128 bit encryption to ensure that your details remain private (take a look at WebDollar’s security page where you can find more about the procedures they have in place to keep you safe).
Most of the standard options that you would expect are able to be used at the Hippodrome:- Credit/Debit cards, Bank transfer, NETeller, Moneybookers and the usual multitude of eWallets. Withdrawals can take 2-4 business days, and amounts can be reversed back into your account up until the payment has been processed by the customer support team.
Support is currently only available via Live Chat or e-mail. It’s also restricted from 9am to 11pm on Monday to Saturday and 9am to 1pm on a Sunday. That said, there’s a comprehensive FAQ section that can answer most of the easy questions, which is both searchable and has the more frequently asked questions (should this be labelled FFAQ?) already linked up and ready to go.
It’s early days yet for this casino, and certainly it is not as comprehensive an offering as some of the more established online casinos out there. That said, it does have an awful lot of potential, particularly once the ‘real world’ casino is completed. The new owners have said that they are looking for the casino to have a clubhouse feel to it – you’ll certainly be welcome as an online player and if it turns out anything like the concept sketches, it’s going to be one of the most spectacular nights out in London – so get in there early and start working your way up their VIP program!