Les Ambassadeurs, the famous old London casino, has been put up for sale.
The building’s owner, the Crown Estate, is looking to raise £50m by selling the freehold of the casino, known to customers and gaming insiders as “Les A”, which overlooks Hyde Park and charges up to £25,000 a year for membership.
The Crown Estate, which owns much of Regent Street and St James’s, has owned the freehold since 1537.
The Grade II* listed building with its French classical facade at 5 Hamilton Place in Mayfair dates from the early 19th century and was once home to the Rothschilds.
It stands on the site of one of Henry VIII’s hunting lodges.
The casino boasts a garden smoking area where players can enjoy a smoke while placing their bets.
Les Ambassadeurs was opened at Hanover Square in 1941 by businessman John Mills and relocated to Hamilton Place, off Park Lane, in 1950.
He ran the casino until 1981 when the leasehold was bought by casino group London Clubs International.
In 2006 the lease was sold to the Sampoerna family.
Well known businessman and Topshop owner Sir Philip Green is a customer of Les Ambassadeurs, who famously had a run of luck at the roulette table in 2004, resulting in a win of £2m in a single night. It forced the casino’s then operator, London Clubs International, into a profit warning.
A few years later the retail billionaire considered buying the casino with sportswear tycoon Mike Ashley from its new owner, the Indonesian tobacco billionaire Putera Sampoerna.
The problem for Crown Estate is whom in the current climate will fork out £50 million for the freehold, when other companies such as London Clubs International is said to be also up for sale.