Las Vegas and the Mob

by candy47

Las Vegas was better when the mob ran it. Or was it? Depends on who you talk to...

Las Vegas has always been identified with organized crime and it probably always will be. It all began with Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel and his mob friends arriving in Las Vegas in the early 1940's opening the Flamingo hotel-casino. Then along came Sam Giancana from Chicago, he took control of the Riviera, Sands and Desert Inn. Skimming from the count rooms was in full force during these tenures. Al Glick owner of the Stardust and Fremont, more skimming. Carl Thomas, a top executive at the Tropicana...skimming from the count room.
I started working in casinos in the 1970's and continued in casinos until 2006. I saw a lot!

Above photo Amazon product available below.

Count Rooms

Then and Now

Let me give you some background about count rooms. The soft count room is where paper money is taken and counted. All the cash money that is on live table games like blackjack, roulette, craps, etc. is taken to soft count and so is the paper money from slot machines. None of that money has been counted or verified yet, that's why casinos are so protective of the containers the money is in.

Security officers remove the boxes from each game, put them on a cart, then take it to soft count. They go through one door, officers and carts, that door must close and lock before they can open the next door, that's called a mantrap. The second door is the soft count room.

Soft count rooms are small, about 15' x 15' but there are more surveillance cameras in there than anywhere else in any casino. One casino I worked in had 32 cameras on the ceiling in a small room...picture that.

The mob guys did their skimming as soon as the boxes were opened in the soft count room, the money was counted after the skim, and no cameras.

My Experience

Just a few

My first job in a casino was Slots-a-Fun in the 1970's. It was a small casino owned at the time by none other than Carl Thomas. He ended up in the Nevada Black Book and died in prison.


Then I worked at Circus Circus where Anthony 'Tony the Ant' Spilotro owned the souvenir shop. There was also a spa for men in Circus Circus and then one day the owner of the spa was found in his car with a bullet in his head. I don't know for sure, but maybe Mr. Spilotro wanted to take over ownership of the spa.


Car bombings were a common occurrence. Frank 'Lefty' Rosenthal's (of Casino the movie fame) Cadillac was bombed on Sahara Ave., he wasn't in it.

TV news reporter Ned Day was relentless in exposing the illegal activities and the inactivity of the FBI, so of course his car was bombed. Fortunately he was not in it. However, Ned Day met an untimely death at the age of 42 while vacationing in Hawaii. Official cause of death, heart attack. I don't think so.


The Black Book

The Black Book is a list of persons excluded from entering any casino at any time. This is sanctioned by the Gaming Control Board and the penalties set on gaming establishments is severe. The only way to get removed from the list is death.

The Mob is Gone

Casinos in Las Vegas nowadays are conglomerates with several casinos under the umbrella of one big corporation. The mob guys might have been crooks and thugs but they wouldn't let anyone in their casino if they weren't dressed appropriately or when someone lost all their money gambling, the mob boys gave them 'walking money'. That sort of thing just doesn't happen anymore.

Two good movies about the beginning with Bugsy Siegel and then the end in Casino.

Bugsy (Unrated Extended Cut)Casino [Blu-ray]

Snippets from both movies

They're really good

Las Vegas Books

Las Vegas The Mob Years: Stories of Bootleggers, Revenge and Murder

Imagine sitting front stage at the Desert Inn’s Copa Room enjoying such great celebrities perform as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Envision too, Elvis Presley, ...

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Vegas and the Mob

Las Vegas was the Mob's greatest venture and most spectacular success, and through 40 years of frenzy, murder, deceit, scams, and skimming, the FBI listened on phone taps and di...

View on Amazon

The Battle for Las Vegas: The Law vs. The Mob

From the 1970s through the mid-1980s, the Chicago Outfit dominated organized crime in Las Vegas. Unreported revenue, known as the “skim,” from Outfit-controlled casinos made its...

View on Amazon

You might call this 'The Mob Theme'

I Was Framed

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Updated: 02/08/2016, candy47
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candy47 on 07/04/2017

I was living and working in Las Vegas when the corruption imploded. It was around 1981 when the shake-up at the Stardust took place. I knew people who worked there and they left the state overnight without a word. So from 1981 to around 1986 law enforcement and Nevada Gaming Control cleaned up the mob mess. After that is when corporations began taking over.

DerdriuMarriner on 06/30/2017

candy47, When did the transition from mob to conglomerate take place?

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