|The Bicycle Hotel & Casino|
|Address||888 Bicycle Casino Drive
Bell Gardens, California 90201
|Opening date||November 30, 1984|
|Previous names||The Bicycle Casino|
|Renovated in||2015 (Hotel Addition)|
The Bicycle Hotel & Casino (commonly, “The Bike“) is a poker cardroom in California.
Founded by George Hardie Sr. in 1984, located in Bell Gardens, California, The Bicycle Casino offers a selection of poker games and Asian games, with a wide range of limits. The casino features games including: Blackjack, Texas Hold ‘Em, Seven Card Stud, Omaha hold ’em, Mexican Poker, Pai Gow Poker, Three Card Poker and Baccarat (card game).
Financing to build the original Bicycle Club casino was provided by Sam Gilbert, who allegedly used money partially obtained from laundering drug money.
The casino is home to the Legends of Poker, a tournament series established in 1995 that now includes a stop on the World Poker Tour. Prior to the Legends, the casino’s main tournament series was called the Diamond Jim Brady.
Seizure and indictment
In 1987, Sam Gilbert was the subject of a federal investigation into money laundering and racketeering charges. According to the investigation, a scheme to launder the money received from smuggling marijuana was put together to finance the construction of the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California. According to one criminal complaint,
“[Sam Gilbert] a wealthy Los Angeles businessman, was the first Gilbert to establish ties with the Kramer family when he befriended Benjamin Kramer’s father, Jack Kramer, in 1978. At that time, Jack Kramer and Sam Gilbert came up with the idea of building a legal card club for the purposes of laundering Benjamin Kramer’s dirty money. By 1983, Sam Gilbert was in contact with David Pierson, who was himself thinking of building a card club and was looking for legitimate investors. Pierson gave Sam Gilbert a prospectus, Sam liked what he saw, and Sam agreed to arrange the financing for the project in return for a sixty percent share of Pierson’s ownership interest in the Club.”
Gilbert was indicted in Miami 4 days after his death. His son Michael also was indicted.
The U.S. Government seized the casino in April, 1990, after a jury found that $12 million of the $22 million used in its construction came from Florida drug smugglers. The club’s profits were frozen and placed in a special U.S. Marshals account until the court held a civil hearing to determine which partners knew that the club was built with drug money.
George Hardie and The Park Place Associates ownership were exonerated in 1990, and they regained their 35% stake.
In July 1991 a Florida federal judge ruled that at least one of the partners, former Los Angeles Westside banker M. Dale Lyon, knew about the club’s financing. Eight other partners in the LCP Associates, the partnership named for Lyon, Coyne and Pierson, agreed to forfeit portions of their interest