August 1, 2022 3 min read


Jimmy Thomas, Hippodrome Casino Co-founder and Casino Pioneer Passes Away

James “Jimmy” Thomas, the co-founder and president of the famous Hippodrome Casino in London passed away late last week.

Jimmy Thomas Passed Away at 88

On the morning of Saturday, July 30, Thomas passed away in his sleep after a short illness at the London Clinic. Members of his close family were present. The famous entrepreneur and gambling industry pioneer was 88.

Speaking about the recent loss, Jimmy’s son, Simon Thomas, outlined that thanks to his leadership skill and pioneering vision, his father was able to achieve significant success. Moreover, he added: “I had the privilege of his advice and guidance not only as a business partner but as a son.” Last but not least, Simon Thomas pointed out that Jimmy was a unique member and he will be greatly missed by his family, friends and staff members.

My father achieved enough for several lifetimes and was respected the world over for his business leadership and pioneering vision.

Simon Thomas, son of Jimmy Thomas and executive chairman at the Hippodrome Casino

Besides his son Simon, Jimmy Thomas leaves Carla and Lisa, two daughters from his first marriage to Alma that passed away back in 2008. From his second marriage, he leaves one son, Jordan. Jimmy Thomas had seven grandchildren and three step-grandchildren.

Thomas Opened Many Famous Gambling Venues

As a leading entrepreneur within the casino industry in the UK, Jimmy Thomas was a part of multiple industry bodies. He had a life membership as a part of the British Amusement and Catering Trades Association (BACTA), as well as director of the European Amusement and Gaming Expo Ltd (EAGE Ltd) since it was founded back in 2009. In addition, Jimmy Thomas was also a chairman and vice president of the BACTA Charitable Trust.

Back in 2019, at the British Casino Awards, Jimmy was honored with a Lifetime Achievement honor. Another award that he received was a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Casino Association in 2013. This made Thomas the first living person to be honored on the prestigious BACTA Wall of Fame.

But Thomas’ industry career dates back to the 1950s. In 1956, he opened his first casino at the Hurst Hotel, in Quorn, Leicestershire. Then, Thomas opened two more venues in Derby and Nottingham. After that, he opened La Ronde Casino and Cabaret Club in Loughborough, his hometown. The new venue became the go-to location for famous entertainers from the 1960s and 1970s.

With that in mind, Thomas’ most famous venue is the Hippodrome Casino. Together with his son, Jimmy opened the world-famous property back in 2012. The Hippodrome Casino is located in Leicester Square and is the biggest and busiest casino in London. Besides live gambling entertainment, the venue offers drinks and delicious foods.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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