Monday, March 24, 2014

From Siegel To Spilotro: Mob Influenced Gambling In Las Vegas

Jeff German a the Las Vegas Review-Journal offers a piece on organized crime's influence in developing Las Vegas.

Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel had been at the helm of the Flamingo for only six months in June 1947 when he was killed in a hail of gunfire at his girlfriend’s Beverly Hills, Calif., home.

But his vision for the Flamingo, the first resort-style hotel on the Strip, was the beginning of a 50-year relationship between Las Vegas and traditional organized crime that helped define “Sin City”and turn it into one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

“The general perception on the part of the public is that Las Vegas and the mob have been inextricably linked, and I don’t think it will ever be extricated,” former longtime state archivist Guy Rocha says.

Groundbreaking books such as “The Green Felt Jungle” in 1963, which revealed the mob’s early grip on the city, and popular movies such as “The Godfather” in 1972 and “Casino” in 1995 enhanced this perception through the years.

So did the buzz on the Strip over the Rat Pack, led by headliner Frank Sinatra and his associations with high-profile underworld figures.

In reality, Las Vegas was regarded as an “open city” for more than two dozen Mafia families across the country. Many had representatives in Las Vegas for decades, with Chicago being the most dominant.

The colorful mob era has long since passed, but Rocha believes it should not be forgotten.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

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