Normandie Casino Card Club Closing After 69 Iconic Years Due to Money Laundering

May 24th, 2016 | by Brian Corlisse
Normandie Casino card club money laundering

The famed Normandie Casino is closing due to criminal money laundering acts by its present owners, bringing the card club’s 69-year run to close in shame. (Image: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times)

The Normandie Casino in Gardena, California, will close its doors in the coming months almost 70 years after it first opened. On April 24, 2016, the California Gambling Control Commission (CGCC) ordered the revocation of Normandie’s gambling license after the remaining owners from the Miller family pleaded guilty to money laundering.

According to settlement documents supplied by the CGCC, the three surviving members controlling the Normandie admitted guilt to “one count of conspiracy to cause a financial institution to fail to file a currency transaction report,” and also pled guilty to “one count of failure to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program.”

The Millers agreed to forfeit $1.38 million and pay an additional $1 million fine. The settlement also provided the basis for the CGCC to revoke the gambling license held by the Normandie Casino.

Not-So-Storybook Ending

First opened in 1940 as the Western Club, the card club got its present name when Russ Miller the elder assumed control of the Los Angeles County gambling facility in 1947. Normandie was one of the original six card rooms in Gardena, and the venues flourished throughout the decades.

Located 12 miles south of downtown Los Angeles on the 110, Normandie has offered a variety of card games including poker during its storied tenure. The site still holds a handful of weekly poker tournaments in addition to its daily cash games.

Card clubs in California are barred from offering slot machines.

Russ Miller died in 1997 at the age of 90. He was inducted into the so-called Golden State Gaming Association Hall of Fame ten years later in 2007 according to the Normandie website, though we couldn’t find any reliable source for such a hall. 

Pleading guilty to charges on money laundering, the Miller boys, Lawrence, Gregory, and Stephen, aren’t likely making their father proud.

Next Chapter

The Normandie Casino received a four-month reprieve on its gambling permit in April by the CGCC in order to facilitate a potential sale of the facility. The lead candidate for the acquisition is Larry Flynt, the notorious entrepreneur who owns and operates the nearby Hustler Casino.

According to the Daily Breeze’s Sandy Mazza, Flynt might be interested in buying the roughly 17-acre Normandie property in order to build a larger resort-style casino equipped with possible convention space. That could better position Flynt in competing with the upcoming Hollywood Park Casino in neighboring Inglewood.

The 238-acre Hollywood Park racetrack has been demolished to make room for the City of Champions Stadium, the temporary name of the sports and entertainment complex that’s being built to serve as the home of the Los Angeles Rams in 2019. Along with 3,000 homes, a 300-room hotel and over 600,000 square feet of retail space, the Hollywood Park Casino will compliment the new center once completed.

There’s currently a bustling economic boom happening in Inglewood, a notion few would have predicted just a decade or so ago. And while much remains unknown, one thing is for certain, and that’s come August the Normandie Casino will be no more.

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