Bicycle Hotel & Casino Raided Over Fraud AllegationsApril 5, 2017 10:05 am
One of California’s most iconic gambling rooms, the Bicycle Hotel & Casino, has just been shut down after being raided by federal agents in connection with a criminal fraud investigation. During the raid, the casino’s two parking lots were sealed off, while inside the building federal agents carried off thousands of the business’s financial records.
The dramatic scene played out at around 7 am on April 4th, with the Los Angeles High Intensity Financial Crime Area Task Force heading the team of agents which entered the Bicycle Hotel in order to establish whether the venue had been laundering dirty money at its gaming tables. Taking part in the raid were agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the California Department of Justice’s bureau of gambling control, and the U.S. attorney’s office.
Needless to say, the situation caused concern amongst the people already patronizing the establishment, especially after being told to stop gambling and remove their hands from the gaming tables. Some of the casino’s customers expressed concern that the chips they were holding may now have been rendered worthless, but were subsequently reassured that this wasn’t the case, and that the Bicycle Hotel & Casino would reopen after the completion of their investigation in a few days time.
Interestingly, the majority of those gathered seemed more concerned that they may have been cheated while playing at the casino’s 185 card game tables, with many complaining that they could never seem to win, and citing rude pit bosses and fishy behavior. Commenting on their concerns, Whittier law school professor, Nelson Rose, stated:
“From a public relations point of view, this was horrible. The agents closed the active casino. Some players talked about cheating. But this is far from cheating. This is about someone passing money through an establishment.”
This is not the first time the Bicycle Hotel & Casino has been in trouble with the law, though, and in 1991 the federal government claimed part ownership in the property after it was found to have funded more than half of its $22 million construction bill using money from Florida drug smugglers. The government later sold off its share to the British gambling firm, Ladbroke.