Barclay brothers’ Ritz casino in red again after high rollers win big

The casino at the Ritz Hotel — owned by the billionaire Barclay brothers — has plunged to a third huge loss in just five years after a number of high rollers made big wins at the gaming tables.

The Piccadilly casino, where customers have included Sir Roger Moore and actor Johnny Depp, fell £11.72 million into the red last year, more than wiping out the £8.91 million profit made in 2016, latest accounts filed at Companies House reveal.

It was the third heavy loss for the casino, which sits under the five-star hotel in the Ritz Club London, since 2013. In 2015 the deficit was £12.8 million and two years before that it was £12.7 million.

The accounts for the Ritz Hotel Casino stated: “Casino footfall during 2017 remained constant; however, the financial results have been significantly affected by a number of customer wins. Efforts to encourage new Middle East and Far Eastern players remain focused and business in 2018 is expected to be more fortuitous.”

At the end of last year it was reported that the 84-year-old Barclay twins, Sir David and Sir Frederick, had put the casino up for sale with a price tag of £200 million.

The casino loss is the latest in a series to have been reported this year at the web of businesses controlled by the Channel Islands-based tycoons.

Parcel delivery service Yodel, which has never recorded a profit, made a pre-tax loss of £85.7 million last year, widening from £58.25 million previously.

It was hit by many setbacks, including a fire that destroyed a Worcester distribution hub, the departure of key clients and intense price competition.

Yodel, which also owns the Arrow XL delivery brand, warned that the most recent financial year ending June 2018 — for which it has not yet published accounts — “will again be challenging”.

It listed one of its major risks as the lack of “customer confidence from the uncertainty relating to Brexit”.

The Barclays, who live in a mock Gothic castle on the small island of Brecqhou near Sark, have been leading advocates of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The brothers’ main retail business, Shop Direct — owner of the Littlewoods and Very.co.uk brands — has also faced a tough year, making a pre-tax loss of £24.7 million after having had to put aside £128 million to cover compensation to customers who were mis-sold PPI insurance policies. There was also a provision of £22.5 million to cover the costs of a new distribution centre.

Last month, Shop Direct said it was shutting its Littlewoods Clearance operation, which will result in the closure of seven stores and the loss of 143 jobs by the end of February next year.

Profits at the twins’ most high-profile business, Telegraph Media Group, owner of the The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph titles, almost halved last year from £26.8 million to £14.3 million.

Its parent company, Press Acquisitions, made a £119.6 million pre-tax loss after accounting rules forced a huge write-down of the value of the Telegraph titles.

The brothers, who were born in Hammersmith, do not sit on the boards of the businesses in their empire and are instead represented by Sir David’s sons Aidan and Howard.

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