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Hippodrome Casino Co-Founder Jimmy Thomas dies at 88

Gaming industry icon James ‘Jimmy’ Thomas has passed away, aged 88.

JamesThomas

The President and Co-Founder of London’s Hippodrome Casino died in his sleep on Saturday morning after a short illness.

Born in Loughborough in 1934, Thomas hailed from a family that had, for seven generations, been involved in Britain’s leisure and gaming sectors.

The industry pioneer opened his first casino in 1956 at the Hurst Hotel in Quorn, Leicestershire, followed by others in Nottingham and Derby.

And less than a decade after opening his first casino, Thomas launched the La Ronde Casino & Cabaret Club in his hometown, a venue that played host to some of the most famous entertainers of the 1960s and 70s.

But the entrepreneur’s most well-known venture wouldn’t come until almost half a century later. Alongside his son, Simon, Thomas opened the Hippodrome Casino in London’s Leicester Square in 2012.

The property has, for 122 years, occupied the corner of London’s Cranbourn Street and Charing Cross Road, and through Thomas’ investment, continues to live on as an iconic landmark.

For his work, Thomas was honoured by the Casino Association with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, and was the first living person to be honoured on the BACTA Wall of Fame.

In addition, Thomas received another Lifetime Achievement honour at the British Casino Awards in 2019.

He leaves behind his son, Simon, and two daughters, Lisa and Carla, from his first wife, Alma, who passed away in 2008, as well as another son, Jordan, from his second marriage, seven grandchildren and three step grandchildren.

Simon Thomas, Executive Chairman of the Hippodrome, said: “My father achieved enough for several lifetimes and was respected the world over for his business leadership and pioneering vision.

“I had the privilege of his advice and guidance not only as a business partner but as a son. He was one of a kind, and will be greatly missed by his family, many friends and staff members.”

Jimmy Thomas will be sorely missed by all of us at Gambling Insider and we send our condolences to everyone at the Hippodrome.


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