Security Guard Shot Dead at Illegal Casino in Hollywood Hills

Casino Games


  • The incident happened just before 4:00 a.m. Wednesday
  • The man was shot by two perpetrators, who searched the building for cash before leaving
  • Police have not released a description of the criminals or settled on a motive

A security guard at an illegal casino in Hollywood Hills, California was shot and killed early Wednesday morning, according to police.

Anthony Rivas, 33, was the victim of a shooting at around 4:00 a.m. ET at the 3300 block of Cahuenga Boulevard. Authorities were alerted of a disturbance when locals called in to report shots fired during the early-morning hours.

The victim suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.

What happened on-site?

Patrol units from LAPD’s North Hollywood station were the first to respond to the incident at what was believed to be a hookah lounge and nighttime gathering area but turned out to be a front for an illegal casino.  

According to investigators, two masked assailants, who are still on the run, entered the building with rifles from its back entrance. They then confronted Rivas, and as the situation escalated, he reached for his gun. He did not have enough time to raise it to defend himself and was shot multiple times by at least one of the men.

Police have not unearthed a motive or released a description of either of the perpetrators, though there is an early suspicion that it was a robbery-gone-wrong. Multiple people on-scene were arrested after police showed up but none have been tagged with the crime of murdering the security guard.

“After searching the building for money, both suspects fled out of the rear door without any property,” said LAPD.

Authorities discovered there was not just traditional gambling going on inside the illegal casino, but high-stakes gambling.

Part of Cahuenga Boulevard was closed as investigators gathered everything they could from the scene of the crime but has since reopened. LAPD is still pounding the trail looking for evidence that may lead to the eventual arrest of the fleeing gunmen.

Expected criminal activity

Local business owners were unsurprised illegal operations were going on inside the lounge. They reported a variety of suspicious activity including events that stretched well beyond business hours, even those of a late-night club. 

“That kind of activity doesn’t belong here because there’s always a lot of trouble that follows,” said a business owner close to the lounge. “I saw there were gamblers and they have all these young girls that come along dressed up, kind of like the ones that hang out in Las Vegas, and they surround the men who are gambling and that’s what’s going on around there.”

Instances such as what happened at the illegal casino are part of what has made controlling the gambling market in areas throughout the United States so difficult. And while the pro-gambling crowd will say these situations can be avoided by legalizing sports betting and traditional casino gaming, critics will say it will only drive the general gambling interest and underground operations will continue to flourish.

It is legal to gamble in California at tribal casinos and card rooms or by using the California State Lottery. Sports betting and online casinos are not considered illegal.

The suspects are still at large, and LAPD is encouraging anyone with information regarding the illegal casino, suspects, or the case in general to report it to the Operations Valley Bureau (phone: 818-374-9550) or the LAPD (phone: 1-877-527-3247). Anonymous tips can be delivered by calling 1-800-222-8477 or via the web at

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.