April 14th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1953, Seal Beach citizens voted to ban gambling in the city by a narrow margin. The votes against gambling tallied at 848 against 811 for legalizing gambling.

The city had previously voted 761 to 661 in October 1952 to scrap an ordinance that allowed the Airport Club, a poker and bingo establishment to operate. The April 14th election had been initiated and funded by Airport Club owner William Robertson to prevent the club from closing on May 20.

Airport Club

This would not be William Robertson’s final attempt to keep the Airport Club from closing permanently. The Long Beach Independent estimated that the around-the-clock 24/7 gambling club was racking in a million dollars in revenues annually, a cash flow anyone would be reluctant to see go away forever. Many colorful strategies were concocted to revive the Airport Club, but local anti-gambling forces ultimately prevailed in keeping gambling dead in Seal Beach.

The Airport Club remained closed until Robertson revived the location as a teen dancing club in the sixties, The Marina Palace. 

– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

This entry was posted in Seal Beach History and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to April 14th in Seal Beach History

  1. Kari E Johnson says:

    I certainly remember its tenure as the Marina Palace. Cave-like, no ambiance. But, yes, a place for we teens to go and dance if somebody couldn’t borrow Pop’s car and drive us somewhere more appealing or exciting. But I did not know its early history had been as a gambling den (of iniquity)!
    Thanks!

    Like

  2. I was wondering what year they took the Airport Club sign down. Not sure if I remember seeing it…

    Like

Leave a Reply to Kari E Johnson Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s