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
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.
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..
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
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.