The Hollywood Park Casino opened more than 20 years ago in Inglewood with the hopes of boosting the city’s coffers, creating jobs and spurring development in the working-class community.
Celebrity gamblers such as William Shatner, Jason Alexander and Ben Affleck have been spotted laying down bets at the card club adjacent to the Hollywood Park Racetrack and the Forum arena.
But hard times have fallen on the aging card club since the Los Angeles Lakers abandoned the Forum in 1999, the race track folded in 2013 and competing clubs have doubled down on swanky renovations to draw away the high rollers.
Now, Hollywood Park’s owners hope to turn around the club’s fortunes around with a move to a bigger facility next door designed to draw the wealthy clientele who will be visiting the $1.86-billion pro football stadium scheduled to open in three years in an adjacent multiuse development.
“We’ve lost a lot of customers, but I think we can get them back,” said Deven Kumar, general manager of the Hollywood Park Casino, which is scheduled to open at its new home this fall. “I think Hollywood Park Casino still carries a lot of cachet.”
The 110,000-square-foot building will be nearly 40% larger, will hold 35 more gaming tables and include a new sit-down restaurant and sports bar, featuring a giant, dual-sided television screen, he said.
The existing facilities are more humble: Hungry gamblers looking for a bite must now squeeze into a tiny cafeteria-style eatery to order a microwave-heated sandwich or a pre-made salad.
“The old casino is just that: old,” said Inglewood Mayor James Butts Jr. “It has outlived its time.”
Kumar wouldn’t divulge how much casino owner Stockbridge Capital Group is investing in the new facility, but replacing the old club makes economic sense.