Lead Story West Edition

New Hollywood Park Casino hopes to lure more than gamblers

INGLEWOOD — Stylish and sleek, with a pinch of a luxury Viva Las Vegas-like appeal, representatives of the Hollywood Park Casino believe their new venue will win like a straight flush when it opens in the fall.

Hollywood Park General Manager Deven Kumar said he expects the updated digs on Century Boulevard to attract customers who normally travel to Las Vegas.

“We want the social customer to come in not having to think about gaming — yea it’s there and it’s an opportunity — but it’s a social environment,” the gaming and hospitality official of two decades said. “If you look at the environment, look at the architecture, I want to try to make a less intimidating card club and more of a social casino feel.”

Kumar’s remarks came at the end of a private tour of the splashy, 110,000-square-foot building casino representatives gave the media.

With the ultramodern building 95 percent complete and the Oct. 22 grand-opening weekend approaching, HPC representatives showed press members everything from the gaming den’s expansive casino floor, where gamers will be able to play poker and card games, to a lounge area that will be adorned with plush seating for patrons to sip on cocktails, to the shimmering gold look of the exterior walls of the casino floor bathrooms.

The facility was designed by San Diego-based JCJ Architecture and is 40 percent larger than HPC’s present-day structure, which sits less than 100 yards away.

Stockbridge Capital, the gambling venue’s owners, decided to build a new casino after it was announced that the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams were moving from Missouri to Southern California.

HPC owns 11 acres of the 290-acre City of Champions of Revitalization project. When all aspects of the public/private project are complete in two years, it is expected that businesses, hotels, residential spaces and the Rams’ football stadium will sit near HPC.

Kumar said the casino has a chance to establish itself since it will be the first feature of Inglewood’s revitalization plan to open.

“It’s an opportunity to get situated before we get this massive number of people that are going to come in and make sure we are ready to handle that situation,” he said. “Everything else is going to come along, and it’s going to be incredible.”

Kumar said work crews should be done putting the finishing touches on the new building in a few weeks. The old HPC facility will be destroyed soon after.

The dewy digs are dapper.

Workers attach televisions to the wall in the Century Bar & Grill within the new Hollywood Park Casino. The new casino is expected to open in October. (Photo by McKenzie Jackson)
Workers attach televisions to the wall in the Century Bar & Grill within the new Hollywood Park Casino. The new casino is expected to open in October. (Photo by McKenzie Jackson)

The lobby features two cascading water displays attached to opposite walls, while diamond-shaped light fixtures hang from above. HPC’s Century Bar & Grill is positioned behind the lobby, and once complete will have 210 seats to go along with the bar, multiple televisions and artwork from local artists that are already attached to its walls.

Next to the eatery on one side is the Raise Lounge, which will have seating for at least 85, and on the other side are two areas for premium simulcast wagering or horse race betting. One is the 200-person capacity Turf Club that will double as an event space.

The casino floor, illuminated by chandelier lights, has 125 tables – 35 more than the current HPC. Twenty of the new tables will be designated for poker games like Hold ‘em, Seven Card Stud and Pot Limit Omaha, while the other 15 will be additional sites for card games including blackjack, baccarat, and Three Card Poker.

Next to the casino floor are additional betting rooms. The Gold Dragon will be for high-limit card games and the other area for high limit poker games — 20 percent more high-limit games than the current HPC.

The casino also has a deli and coffee shop. Palm trees line the exterior of the building and a large, electronic marquee greets visitors pulling into the driveway to either head towards the valet or the 1,450-spot parking garage.

Kumar said Hollywood Park will have a big impact on the area and be a top card house in Southern California.

“We are trying to do exactly what our motto is, ‘Raise your expectations,’” he said.

Kumar said HPC customers are excited about the ultramodern structure, but he also wants to attract new customers by way of the casino’s top-shelf restaurant, bars and lounge, something the existing venue doesn’t do.

The general manager said he expects a 50 percent increase in visitors in the first two years.

“When the stadium comes, sky is the limit,” Kumar said. “What we built here is not something about stealing customers from other card clubs; it’s about expanding the customer base. We have an opportunity to bring a whole new market of customers that are really looking for discretionary spending. It doesn’t have to be gaming based.”