The Gambling

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During the first half of the          twentieth century wide open gambling was commonplace in Balboa. In fact many believe the taxes levied by the city on the illegal gambling operations kept the City of Newport Beach out of bankruptcy during the depression.

All the games were fixed in one way or another. The popular punch-cards rarely had a winning slip in them. The slot machines had shims placed on their gears so they wouldn't stop on the jackpot.

In 1949, Gordy Wevill opened the doors to his gambling operation in the Balboa Pavilion where Davey's Locker is now located. Gordy ran a vertical wheel game based loosely on the principals of roulette.

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The Late Gordy Wevill

The big difference was, besides zero and double-zero, the wheel also had star-crescent and double-star-crescent, which increased the house's take. Tourists would buy five-cent and ten-cent chips to play with, and would be paid-off with cartons of cigarettes to keep things under cover. The cigarettes could then be cashed-in for $2.00 a carton at the Dutch Lunch. The Dutch Lunch was a beer bar and deli, and was located where the parking lot on Main Street behind where the Orange Julius is now located. Gordy owned the Dutch Lunch too, so it was a simple matter to keep the cigarettes making round trips..

As Gordy says, "Some of those cartons showed a lot of wear from all the back and forth trips." As luck would have it, three days after he opened his business Gordy got a tip from Al Anderson that the D.A. was on his way down to close the gambling operations. Al Anderson, who owned the old Fun Zone, was a front man with connections in the D.A.s office. Gordy closed his doors and decided that was enough for him, and never reopened

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A remaining artifact of this bypassed era can be seen on the wall of the Vogel building next door to the Post Office on Main Street.