Lucky Lady Casino opens in Gardena

March 21, 2017 3:03 AM
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Larry Flynt’s Lucky Lady Casino celebrated its Grand Opening this past Saturday. Located in Gardena, Calif., the Lucky Lady Casino was previously known as the Normandie Casino.

Flynt bought the gaming license of the former Normandie in July 2016 after a battle with the Gardena City Council, which had voted to grant tax breaks to the Lucky Lady only if Flynt paid the city a minimum $800,000 a month.

Flynt fought for a no-strings attached tax break. According the article “Larry Flynt Halts Casino Opening” in the Daily Breeze, Flynt argued the city should be grateful he intends to spend more than $60 million on the Lucky Lady.

He told the Daily Breeze he intended to unseat the council members in the next city election by supporting their opponents.

Flynt continued, “In the 16 years we’ve been down there, I’ve paid the city $80.5 million in tax revenue. We saved the city from bankruptcy. We’ve been paying the city payroll, including the Police Department for the last 16 years.”

The council has seen its own share of controversy as former Mayor Paul Tanaka was forced to vacate his seat after he was convicted of corruption when he was Los Angeles County undersheriff under Lee Baca, who was convicted this week of obstructing a federal investigation into abuses in Los Angeles County jails.

The former Normandie also struggled before losing its state gaming license when the owners pleaded guilty to laundering money in January 2016. The Normandie Casino was the state’s oldest card club and one of Gardena’s original six poker rooms.

After the California Gambling Control Commission revoked the owners’ licenses, they were granted a four-month reprieve to complete the sale of the property. Felony convictions disqualify anyone from holding a gaming license.

The casino was founded in 1947 when Russ Miller bought the Western Club. It was in decline for years as the Hustler Casino, which opened in 2000, continued to take business away from the older casino.

The Normandie was under investigation for two years. The changing of the guard from the Millers to Flynt marked the end of an era.

The time is right because with all the renovations and expansions of the card rooms in Los Angeles, Flynt taking over the Normandie probably saved it from being closed forever.

Patricia Chavira is a freelance writer and social media consultant specializing in gaming. She has played poker professionally for over 10 years. Email: PatriciaChavira@gamingtoday.com