Larry Flynt, Hustler Founder and Owner of Two California Casinos, Dies Aged 78

  • Business mogul Flynt died on Wednesday morning surrounded by family in Los Angeles
  • He built an adult entertainment business empire with strip clubs and Hustler magazine
  • A lover of gambling, Flynt went on to open two California card rooms in 2000 and 2016
  • In 1988, he won a landmark court case centered around First Amendment rights
Larry Flynt sat in front of his desk
After a long and successful career in the adult entertainment industry, Larry Flynt, Hustler founder and casino owner, has died at the age of 78. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A life in the spotlight

Larry Flynt, founder of Hustler magazine and owner of two California casino card rooms, has died at the age of 78.

An assassination attempt in 1978 left Flynt paralyzed from the waist down

According to a report from TMZ, Flynt passed away on Wednesday morning from heart failure. He died with his family by his side at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The business mogul suffered from a number of health issues. An assassination attempt in 1978 left Flynt paralyzed from the waist down.

Flynt first established himself through the success of his pornographic magazine Hustler. He also ran multiple strip clubs known as Hustler Clubs and went on to open two California casinos. Flynt’s Las Vegas-based Hustler Club announced his death on its Twitter page:

Throughout his career, Flynt became embroiled in a number of high-profile court cases centered around the First Amendment.

School dropout to casino owner

Larry Flynt began his career in the adult entertainment industry after dropping out of school in Kentucky. He first opened a number of strip clubs in Ohio before a newsletter about those venues became the Hustler magazine, initially published in 1974.

Hustler Casino quickly became his most profitable business venture

Flynt didn’t open his first card room until 2000. He started with the Hustler Casino situated in Gardena, a suburb of Los Angeles. Hustler Casino quickly became his most profitable business venture. In 2016, he purchased the Normandie Casino, also based in Gardena. Flynt later renamed this venue Larry Flynt’s Lucky Lady Casino.

Flynt filed a lawsuit against the state of California after opening his second casino in 2016. In the Golden State, it is illegal for card room licensees to hold more than a 1% interest in an out-of-state casino which offers gambling deemed illegal under California law. Flynt said this 35-year-old rule was unconstitutional. Last month, a US District Court judge partially denied the state’s motion to dismiss the four-year-old case.

During a KLAS-TV interview in 2010, Flynt spoke of his personal affinity with gambling. “I love to gamble. See, I don’t do much mountain climbing or water skiing or any of that stuff,” he joked. Flynt often played poker with professionals, finishing eighth in the 2000 World Series of Poker $5,000 7-Card Stud tournament.

The People vs. Larry Flynt

Over the course of his career, Flynt became embroiled in a number of legal battles over the regulation of pornoragphy. Director Milos Forman depicted several of these cases in his 1996 film The People vs Larry Flynt, starring Woody Harrelson as the business mogul.

In 1978, a sniper shot Flynt outside a courthouse in Georgia during one such trial for obscenity. The gunman, an admitted white supremacist, never faced trial for the Hustler owner’s injuries. However, he died by execution in 2013 after a string of other murders. He claimed he shot Flynt because his magazine featured interracial pornographic images.

Flynt’s most prolific case began with a parody cartoon depicting conservative political commentator Jerry Falwell. In the fake alcohol ad, featured in Hustler in November 1983, Falwell admitted that his first sexual encounter had been with his mother in an outhouse. The televangelist sued Flynt for $50m as a result.

Although Falwell won in a lower court, the US Supreme Court ultimately ruled 8-0 in Flynt’s favor. The court argued that the “actual-malice” standard did not apply, as the cartoon established itself as a parody and was protected by the First Amendment.