September 19, 2018   Wednesday

I just finished my seventh interview with Morgan White Jr. on his clear-channel broadcast from Boston that reaches the eastern two-thirds of the country. In our hour-and-a-half discussion, we covered the leaders, and their close associates, of the three biggest Prohibition gangs, and the elegant illegal casinos they operated following its Repeal. These men then built 80% of the Las Vegas Strip resorts from the Flamingo in 1946 to Caesars Palace in 1966, all of which was detailed in my 30 Illegal Years To The Strip.

We also talked about these men’s incredible influence over politics in their cities from the 1920s through the 1940s. At the same time, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover prohibited his agents from investigating organized crime. In fact, during the 48 years of his tenure, he annually lied to the President of the United States, the Congress, and the American people by falsely claiming that there was no such thing as organized crime or the Mafia, as documented in my All Against The Law.

In addition, we discussed the early years of legalized casinos in Nevada and the illegal casinos that preceded them. This was from the manuscript I am currently working on that covers the early history of Nevada casinos - the illegal casinos of the Roaring ‘20s, the legalized casinos of the 30’s Great Depression, the development of the Las Vegas Strip during WWII, and the huge growth of casinos in Las Vegas, Reno, and Lake Tahoe during the major post-War economic boom of the late 1940s. I am about half way through this manuscript, and I hope to have it completed by the end of next year 2019.


June 17, 2018   Sunday

Today, I spoke at the first MobWorld Summit. It was held in Las Vegas at the Plaza Hotel convention center near the Mob Museum, where some of the forum’s events were presented. This new organization is for people interested in the history of American gangland, and it is promoted by Larry Henry. He is a former Las Vegas Sun newspaper editor, and he was a teacher of journalism at the Haas Hall Academy in Rogers, Arkansas before becoming headmaster.

At the Summit, I presented the authentic histories of the top gangsters who built 80% of the Las Vegas Strip resorts from the Flamingo in 1946 to Caesars Palace in 1966, as presented in my 30 Illegal Years to the Strip. I also presented how these men taught me the casino business and positively influenced both my career and my development into manhood.

The audience was knowledgeable about mob history and was invigorated, asking me questions for a couple hours after my presentation. I talked with a few former associates, as well as some of my former UNLV students, and they brought back many wonderful memories.

I also visited with a couple of friends. One is former Kansas City Detective Gary Jenkins, who assisted FBI agents for a year to build the Las Vegas Strip casino skimming cases fictionalized in the movie Casino (1995). He wrote the fine book Leaving Vegas, which contains many FBI wiretapped transcripts of the Midwest Mafia gang leaders discussing their casino skimming activities. The other is Casey McBride, who is an expert on Frank Costello. He presents information about this top gangster on his websites and What a great time I had!

This photo was taken after my MobWorld Summit speech. To the left is former KCPD Detective Gary Jenkins, and in the center is event developer Larry Henry. Their backgrounds are above.


April 14, 2018   Saturday

I just finished my fifth interview with Morgan White Jr. on his clear-channel broadcast from Boston that reaches the eastern two-thirds of the country. In our hour-and-a-quarter discussion, we covered what the isolated but romantic Las Vegas Strip resort desert oases were like in the 1950s, my wonderful years working for Howard Hughes’ Summa Corporation, and Ben Siegel’s life and vision for the Las Vegas Strip.

We also discussed how I opened the first sports book in a Strip casino, and it became Las Vegas’ most popular. I explained how my sports book manager Sonny Reizner set the betting line for the entire nation. Every morning, as he put up his contest numbers in the book at 9 a.m., 35 men stood around writing them down, so they could rush to the nearest payphones to call them to the nation’s largest bookmaking syndicates. Similarly, America’s biggest newspapers and TV and radio stations across the country carried the Castaways’ betting line in their sports stories.

Morgan was very interested in talking with me about Sonny, because they were good friends. Every time Morgan visited Las Vegas, they had long chats. Now when Morgan visits, he and I have dinner and talk late into the evening about the town’s casino history and the colorful characters associated with it. Thank you, Morgan, for the great publicity!

I continue to work hard on my next Nevada history book about the casinos of the 1920s through the 1940s, which I described in detail in my last blog below. In the meantime, a major casino consulting assignment came my way, and it slowed me down from writing for awhile, so I am now looking forward to this new history’s publication next Spring, rather than this Fall.


December 23, 2017   Saturday

I hope everyone has a healthy and peaceful holiday season and new year.

In the past month, I have done three radio interviews promoting my history books as Christmas gifts. One was based in Los Angeles and two in Boston, including an hour on the clear-channel broadcast that covers the eastern two-thirds of the country.

I am hard at work on my next history about the Nevada gambling industry. It covers the casinos in Las Vegas, Reno, and Lake Tahoe from the 1920s through the 1940s. During the Roaring ‘20s, Nevada’s casinos were wide-open operations like today, even though they not only offered illegal
gambling but also alcohol, which was banned by Prohibition. Nevada legalized casinos in 1931, following a multi-year, complicated political effort that was filled with great intrigue. It resulted from the vision and determination of just one man, who wanted Nevada to have a different type of tourist economy from the rest of the country, with wide-open vices going around the clock.

In the 1930s, the most popular legal casinos in Las Vegas and Reno were the ones that had been the busiest illegal casinos during the 1920s. Some of these gambling halls cleverly overcame the economic hardships of the Great Depression with ingenious and effective, but sometimes illegal, marketing programs.

I am well along in the writing process, as I am currently finishing the World War II era casinos. During the War, the casino industry, local economies, and player markets underwent great change. This is when the first Las Vegas Strip resorts opened, and when downtown Las Vegas casinos opened that would dominate the competition and remain the most popular for years to come.

The final era to be covered will be the nation’s great post-War economic boom of the late 1940s, when major casinos opened and brought action, excitement, and glamour to Las Vegas, Reno, and Lake Tahoe. Some of these would become the State’s most popular and successful for the next decade.

This dramatic growth of the casino industry, combined with the State’s dynamic political forces, led to the convoluted and difficult creation of Nevada’s unique form of policing: Gaming Control. In this process, an organized crime gang came very close to taking over control of the State’s government, but a few competent, dedicated, and gutsy State officials successfully fought off these malevolent forces. The murder of Ben Siegel is analyzed in detail from facts I assembled over years of digging for information to finally show that just one man had both motive and opportunity that fateful night.

Because the late 1940s had so many new casino openings and such momentous gaming control advancement, this period will fill about half the book with dramatic facts. The early casino pioneers during these three decades were the most colorful and fascinating personalities in Nevada history. They developed the rules for the most popular gambling games, and they introduced most of the great casino marketing developments that would first make Reno, and later Las Vegas, the world’s gambling center. These pioneers also developed the casino dinner-showroom and entertainment-lounge formats that would make Las Vegas the glamorous entertainment capital for the next half century. Most important to me personally, these pioneers described their business lives to me for my historical book series, and they took me under their collective wings to direct my incredible casino management career for which I am so deeply grateful.

This early exciting casino period had some great big-time gamblers, who bet unbelievable sums. These players include Nick the Greek, who was the biggest poker and casino player of his generation, and System Smitty, who calculated the mathematics of Blackjack card counting before the advent of computers. He won a fortune before the early casino operators realized he had found a way to pull back their statistical advantage. There were other major gamblers of this era, including the unbelievable life and misadventures of the biggest gambler in Reno’s history.

I will keep you posted about my writing and editing progress as I get closer to publication. My goal is to have this book released in October, but I am covering a large swath of exciting and fascinating history, so we shall see.