Updated, March 22, 2016, 3:06 p.m.: The city of Gardena took a reluctant bet when it approved porn mogul Larry Flynt’s latest casino project, but it looks like the odds may be in its favor after all.
Flynt unveiled a $5 million renovation of the 50,000-square-foot former Normandie Casino on March 18, after installing new chandeliers, furniture, and carpeting, the Los Angeles Times reported. He’s renamed the venue the Lucky Lady Casino and festooned it with a new neon sign depicting a half-dressed woman swinging her bare leg, the paper said.
But the renovation marks only the beginning of Flynt’s designs for the site. He wants to invest more than $60 million to build additional retail and office space on 12.5 acres around the casino, he said.
The plans appear to have won over Gardena officials, who were previously at odds with Flynt over tax breaks for the project.
“I personally believe this will be a shot in the arm for the street,” Gardena City Manager Mitchell Lansdell told the Times.
The casino, which operates 60 tables and employs about 400 people, has seen its business pick up by 10 percent since the new owner took over, according to Flynt’s executive vice president of gaming operations Thomas Candy.
But the deal almost didn’t happen.
The Gardena city council backtracked on a no-strings-attached tax break for the project last summer, which led Flynt to briefly shut down the casino in protest. After two days, Flynt and the city were able to reach an agreement in which Flynt will pay 12 percent of his monthly gross gaming revenue at both the Lucky Lady and the Hustler Casino, which he operates less than a mile away. [LAT] — Cathaleen Chen
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that the renovation was revealed in a March 18 meeting.