GARDENA, Calif. — Larry Flynt, founder of the LFP and Hustler brands, may be doubling down with his gambling business after a new report suggests he may be acquiring a second card club near his Hustler Casino in Gardena.
The property at center of speculation is the Normandie Casino, the state’s oldest card club and one of Gardena’s original six poker rooms when the Los Angeles-area city was touted as the “Poker Capital of the World.”
Flynt built the Hustler Casino from the ground up after purchasing land that was formerly occupied by the El Dorado Club, which he purchased in 1998 for $8 million.
The Normandie Casino, originally called the Western Club, is located at Rosecrans and Vermont avenues — just down the street from the Hustler Casino.
Owners of the Normandie Casino apparently folded their cards with the venue after they were hit with felony money-laundering convictions, opening up the possibility for a sale of the property and its gaming license. Felony convictions disqualify anyone from holding a gaming license in California.
Normandie Casino owners already have notified the state of 380 pending permanent layoffs at the casino.
The Daily Breeze, citing a source, reported last week that Flynt likely will “buy the club and expand it in the style of Las Vegas casinos, with an attached hotel, retail shops and entertainment options.”
“It makes a lot of sense for Larry Flynt to [buy the Normandie] because he has a parking problem at the Hustler, and the Normandie sits on 17 acres if you include the corner,” Robert Turner, a former casino manager who is knowledgeable about the California card scene, told the Breeze. “If they build a hotel and convention area with a larger casino, they could give Hollywood Park some competition.”
The Hollywood Park Casino is in the midst of a major renovation and eventually will be part of a complex with a new hotel, homes and stadium for the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, which recently moved to the area from St. Louis.
The Hustler Casino and the Normandie Casino together will deliver more than $10 million in tax revenue to Gardena in the current fiscal year that ends in June, according to the city’s budget.