July 28 2015   Tuesday

Reader Anthony Damato of Staten Island, New York, emailed me his interesting thoughts about my book, including the following question. He asked, "As an eyewitness and player to a time in American history that is unique to the American experience in terms of men, money and results, do you ever think of what would have happened in your life, had you lost your nerve and never made that (telephone) call that fateful Sunday morning to Mr. Dalitz?"

I had explained in detail on the Coast-to-Coast AM interview about how Moe Dalitz, who  built the Desert Inn and Stardust gambling resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, at our first meeting had ordered me to stop my research and leave town, because he was afraid my actions would cause him to go to prison. After that first angry meeting, he and his key executives became major contributors to my research, and he assisted my career in the Las Vegas casino industry. I had mentioned his contributions in the Preface to 30 Illegal Years To The Strip.

I replied to Anthony, "To your question about what my life would have been like if I had not made contact as a young man with Moe Dalitz and had not then been mentored by him and his key executives, I cannot begin to imagine. Dalitz built the first high-rolling casino on the Strip at the Desert Inn and then built the world’s biggest hotel and casino at the Stardust that catered to all economic levels. He created the template for both types of operations, and without all the interviews with the members of his organization, I would never have been able to understand what had occurred or why in a key part of the Strip’s development, nor would I have likely found a great career path like the one that opened up. Opportunity only knocks so many times in any life, and this is an example of why a person should embrace one with fervor."