Steve Ruddock CA casino Hawaiian Gardens renovation

After nearly 20 years of planning, two years of construction, and at a total cost of about $90 million, the Gardens Casino (formerly known as Hawaiian Gardens Casino) has increased its footprint nearly fourfold.

More importantly, after spending the first 20 years of its existence inside a “temporary” massive domed tent, the popular Los Angeles area card room is now housed in a permanent structure.

“Our business keeps growing, so this expansion was designed specifically for our guests so that we can provide the premier gaming and dining experience in Southern California,” Ron Sarabi, general manager of the Gardens Casino said in a press release.

“The new casino provides our guests with a truly elevated experience, including more space, state-of-the-art card tables and amenities, two designated VIP areas and a diverse restaurant and bar all within our new building.”

A long time in the making

The construction project was first proposed way back in 1997, when the card room was first opened. However, the city only signed off on the project in 2013, which at the time was tagged as a $45 million remodel. Construction began in March of 2014, and the new Gardens Casino will be officially completed later this year.

The first order of business was the dismantling of the tent that long outlived its original raison d’être.

Richard Martinez, a regular customer at Hawaiian Gardens told the Los Cerritos News back in 2013, “It always amazes me that this temporary structure has been so strong and upheld pretty nicely for so many years.”

But the loss of the tent will be bittersweet for some. As one local Hawaiian Gardens customer told Los Cerritos News back when the project was first approved, “This tent casino has lived through rain and hail storms, heat waves, a couple of earthquakes, and power outages. Getting a new casino with real walls is going to seem a little odd.”

In addition to expanded gaming and entertainment options, the project also increased available parking for guests, adding several off-site parking lots for Gardens Casino visitors.

Gardens Casino not just for the gamble anymore

The expansion project was massive in scale, having increased the Gardens Casino’s total square footage from just under 60,000 to over 200,000.

Prior to the remodel, the Hawaiian Gardens Casino boasted less than 15,000 square feet of non-gaming floor space. The new Gardens Casino features over 200,000 square feet of gaming, amenities, and conference space, modeled after the destination resort-style casinos that dot the Las Vegas Strip.

With nearly 50,000 square feet (on the new second floor) devoted to non-gaming amenities and conference an tournament space – the gaming floor increased from 48,000 square feet to over 150,000 square feet – the Gardens Casino can no longer be considered a simple gambling hall.

These added amenities and entertainment options should help the Gardens Casino better compete with the big L.A. card rooms, namely the Bicycle Casino and Commerce Casino, as well as the larger tribal casinos in the state.

Gardens Casino drives the economy of Hawaiian Gardens

The casino was already the largest employer in the city of Hawaiian Gardens, with some 1,000 employees. The expansion is expected to create at least 400 new jobs, a boon for the small city on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

“With a population of approximately 15,000 residents, The Gardens Casino is pleased to sustain the majority of the City of Hawaiian Gardens’ annual budget.” Sarabi stated in the press release. “Showing our support both physically and fiscally to our local community is extremely important to The Gardens Casino and we value our strong working relationship with the City of Hawaiian Gardens.”

Steve Ruddock
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