For most people, Hawaiian Gardens - the smallest city located in Los Angeles County - is a nondescript town. It's well-known in the gambling community, though, thanks to the popular Hawaiian Gardens Casino, and that crowd is happy to see the city's main attraction get a major facelift.
The new and improved Gardens Casino, as it is now called, has received $90 million in makeovers over the last three years. These touch-ups started in late 2013 and originally were supposed to cost $45 million. The renovations turned into a full-on construction project with the costs ballooning by nearly double.
Governor Jerry Brown first visited the site in 2013, when players had to play underneath a tent. That was somewhat embarrassing for the hosts but that helped paved the way for significant changes.
Now the property will be at least 200,000 square feet in a building that can hold between 5,000 and 7,000 players at any given time. There will be at least 300 tables for them to play to keep them entertained. The inside of the casino is almost done with poker and blackjack tables, and there is more space for players to walk around compared to the older casino. By the end of the project, it will basically be a brand new casino.
The Gardens Casino also seems to be focused towards a more affluent player, which is emphasized by the VIP area. There will be rooms upstairs for selected guests to sleep in and even shower if they feel the need. There is also a gaming area which is well-decorated, complemented by areas for private parties and special events. The kitchen is massive and lively, with chefs preparing dishes from every corner of the world.
The security is also being upgraded so employees of The Gardens can watch everything from players' chips to cars outside, including their license plates. There will be over a thousand security cameras installed around the facilities as Gardens Casino wants to ensure their players' safety as well as the integrity of the casino.
The Gardens is just trying to keep up as there are a few other casinos in the area that are making themselves more attractive to players. The casino at Hollywood Park is going to open up soon in Inglewood, which is close to the new stadium of the Los Angeles Rams, so that is going to see some steady foot traffic. There's the brand new Bicycle Hotel and Casino in Bell Gardens, which opened in December. And then there's the Lucky Lady Casino, which is owned by Larry Flynt, the founder of Hustler. The Gardens saw all of this new competition crop up while simultaneously seeing their casino fall apart, which compelled them to change.
The Gardens Casino is the centerpiece of the city, providing nearly 70% of the city's general-fund revenues and employing 1,850 people, which is quite significant. There is no official opening date as of yet, but when it opens, Gardens Casino will surely garner a lot of attention from the local players and residents.