Larry Flynt’s revamped Lucky Lady Casino has reopened in Gardena. Formerly the venerable Normandie Casino, typified by a drab beige and brown décor, Flynt has added white chandeliers, textured red walls, marble floors for a total makeover that suggests a Mediterranean villa.
Flynt purchased the Normandie when its owners were forced to give up their licenses due to violating federal money-laundering laws.
Flynt, 74, told the Daily Breeze, “Most casinos in the Southland all look like big barns. We try to give it that Vegas flair and upscale decor. When people are there, they get a feeling like they’re really there to have a good time.”
Flynt also owns the Hustler Casino a few blocks away, which he has operated for 17 years—also in Gardena.
When Flynt purchased the Normandie last July he battled city officials over their proposal that he pay a certain amount of tax annually, $800,000, instead of an amount based on actual profits. He also resisted attempts to tone down a sexy welcoming sign of a half-nude cartoon woman. In return he promised to pour more than $60 million into revamping the older casino, which was the oldest card room in the state and had operated since the 1940s.
Now, says Flynt, his investment is paying off. He told the Breeze, “We’ve actually exceeded our expectations. In the past two months, business is almost doubled from when we took it over. It’s doing a little better than the Hustler did when it first opened. We were able to keep existing clientele and add to that.”
Flynt plans to add a hotel and shops. “We wanted to get the casino opened first,” he said. “Then, I’m going to have my architect come in and we’re going to find the best way to develop the rest of the property. But it will definitely complement the city.”