Meetings & Information


Monday, May 23, 2016

Money Laundering Closes Normandie Casino

Normandie Casino to close after nearly 70 years

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The Normandie Casino, which started as the Western Club in 1940 before being purchased by Russ Miller in 1947, ends it legacy as the oldest poker club in the state as it closes its door when earlier this year its four owners where charged with money-laundering. In late April, the California Gambling Control Commission revoked the casino’s license to operate, but granted the business a four-month reprieve for the sale the casino, the Daily Breeze reported. 

The card club at 1045 W. Rosecrans Ave., Gardena was a family business, operated by the Miller Family for nearly 70 years. 

Russ Miller changed the casino name from the Western Club to the Normandie. It is speculated that among those bidding to purchase the Normandie is Larry Flynt, who owns the Hustler Casino, Gardena’s remaining card club that operates at the corner of Vermont and Rosecrans avenues. Flynt, a source said, would be interested in the spacious Normandie property to turn into a Vegas-style resort, complete with a hotel and shops. 

The timing of such a business venture would coincide with the arrival of the Los Angeles Rams football team, and the completion of a stadium construction in nearby Inglewood in 2019. Flynt did not comment on the rumored transactions.

Reports say the Miller family notified the state’s Employment Development Department in late April of the Normandie’s 380 employees, who face pending permanent layoff. 

Reports said the four Miller sons, who ran the casino operation, spurned selling the business in recent years. The casino came under investigation and in January 2016, the four partners pled guilty to federal charges that the Gardena club violated anti-money laundering provisions of the Bank Security Act, it was reported. 

The casino hid the winnings of several high rollers by failing to properly record and report a series of huge cash transactions in 2013, according to the court documents. 

The Normandie club agreed to forfeit $1.3 million in illegal earnings, documents show. It’s managing partners also agreed to pay $1 million in federal fines, as mentioned in the plea agreement. 

Court records showed that the casino failed to record information for one player who had racked up more than $1 million in winnings during a six-week span. 

“The United States has an array of anti-money laundering statutes designed to prevent criminals from using the American financial system to launder the large sums of cash generated by illegal activity such as organized crime, drug trafficking and human trafficking,” U.S. Atty. Eileen M. Decker said in a statement. “Casinos that fail to follow these rules are particularly vulnerable to criminals who seek to disguise illegal cash as gambling winnings.” 

Mark Werksman, the attorney representing the Normandie Casino, said that his client has cooperated in resolving this case. He added that no individual managing partners or owners are facing criminals charges or jail time. - See more at:

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