December 27, 2016   Tuesday

A key figure in 30 Illegal Years To The Strip is Chicago and Miami illegal casino operator
Julian “Potatoes” Kaufman. In Miami, he brought in Meyer Lansky and Jimmy Blue Eyes as investors. Julian’s grandson Richard Kaufman, who has also researched his grandfather’s career, emailed me his review of my book today, and it follows.

Having read numerous books about the era described in “30 Illegal Years to the Strip”, I was impressed with the author’s insight into the characters that made that era. This book presents a unique perspective, due to the author’s voluminous research, about some previously well covered ground. The myth of Murder Inc was eye opening because all the previous books that I read made it some nefarious group but this was not accurate. My opinion about Thomas Dewey “The Great Crime Fighter” certainly was altered after this book. Having read a great deal about political corruption during this time period, I was still amazed at not only the depth of it, but how corrupt politicians utilized organized crime to line their pockets as well as pursue their political agenda. The author’s experience in the gambling industry helped make the operations of the illegal casinos easier to understand.

On a personal note, my grandfather was Julian “Potatoes” Kaufman, who is one of the key characters in this book. During Prohibition he ran upscale casinos in Bugs Moran’s territory on the North Side of Chicago and after the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Al Capone’s territory south of Chicago. After Prohibition my grandfather made a deal with a sheriff to open illegal casino gambling near Miami and he later brought in Meyer Lansky as his partner. I thank the author for keeping Potatoes memory alive.

Since my grandfather passed before I was born, I was always intrigued by my father’s stories. I have researched Julian through the years and this book not only has the most factual  information ever written about him but has new material that was previously unknown to me. This book also debunks many myths.

Anyone who is interested in the origins of Las Vegas gambling or wants to learn about the growth of organized crime or political corruption during that era needs to get this book. I thought that I knew a lot after years of research but the knowledge in this book is indeed impressive. The author’s writing style puts you into the action not only as an observer but as a participant, since it reads like a novel.

Richard Kaufman


October 10, 2016   Monday

I did a one-and-a-quarter hour-interview Saturday night with Morgan White Jr. on his clear-channel broadcast that reaches two-thirds of the nation from the east coast. I presented the career of comedian Joe E. Lewis, which is one of show business’ greatest stories, and then we discussed 30 Illegal Years To The Strip, which he highly recommended as a Christmas gift for anyone interested in the history of organized crime or the Las Vegas Strip. We ended with listener questions. Thank you, Morgan!

I just hung up from a half-hour interview with Frankie Boyer in Boston. I described the ambiance of the early Las Vegas Strip resorts and why I was totally enchanted by them from the time I was a child. Then, I explained how I got Boylesque approved for the Silver Slipper on the Strip by Howard Hughes’ Summa Corp Board of Directors. It was amazing to get a female impersonator show accepted by this very proper and straight-laced company. Boylesque went on to be the Strip’s most sold out show for the next eleven years. We then discussed orchestra conductor Arthur Fiedler’s Boston Pops that was based in Boston, and my parents took me to his show in San Francisco every year. It is always great talking with you, Frankie!


August 10, 2016   Wednesday

Las Vegas’ dean of columnists, John L. Smith, wrote the following full-page article about my latest book 30 Illegal Years To The Strip and the extensive historical research I have assembled for future books, my long Las Vegas Strip casino management career, and I and my wife’s lifestyle. John followed my life and achievements from his desk at the Las Vegas Review Journal, which has always had Nevada’s biggest circulation. He wrote this article for the August 2016 Ruralite magazine that is published by Valley Electric Association, which serves 22,000 families in Southern Nevada.


June 29, 2016   Wednesday

This afternoon, I pre-recorded two ½-hour podcasts for Gary Jenkins’ Gangland Wire, for broadcast two or three weeks from now. Gary is a former long-time Kansas City PD Intelligence Unit detective. In one case his Intel Unit joined forces with the FBI, and it led to the conviction of Mafia leaders in Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee and KC, who had hidden interests in Las Vegas Strip gambling resorts (see

Gary and I discussed "30 Illegal Years To The Strip". His Chicago subscribers requested we discuss the career of Al Capone, which we did for part two. For part one, we talked about the careers of the two bosses who preceded Capone and laid the groundwork for him, “Big Jim” Colosimo and John Torrio, who was even more murderous than Capone.


June 15, 2016   Wednesday

I just returned from having dinner and a most enjoyable conversation with Morgan White Jr. In the past year, I appeared on his Boston clear-channel radio show from Boston, which reaches the eastern two-thirds of the country, three times for a total of four hours of interviews. This was the first time we met face-to-face. We became friends on the telephone because of our shared interests in American history, entertainment, and especially the Las Vegas casino business. Whenever one of us calls the other to see how each other are doing, it always turns into an hour or two conversation. We ate at the modern incarnation of Ben Siegel’s Flamingo Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip in a restaurant that displays many photos of old Las Vegas, one following after the other on large TV screens. After a long evening of animated discussion, we took this photo before parting.


June 9, 2016   Thursday

Today I was pleased to speak at a conference put on by UNLV, where I taught the pioneer course “Casino Operations and Management” for a decade. I pioneered the world’s first university-level course in casino management during the 1970s, and UNLV now offers a Masters Degree in this field.

The UNLV International Conference on Gambling & Risk Taking was held at the Mirage on the Las Vegas Strip. There were more than 600 attendees from 31 countries and hundreds of organizations. I was on a panel with Jon Ralston, who hosts a nightly political talk show on the Las Vegas and Reno PBS stations, and Chris Sieroty, who was with the Las Vegas Review Journal and now works for Gambling Compliance in Washington D.C. The Moderator was Dmitri Shalin, who is Professor and Director of the UNLV Center for Democratic Culture.

The topic of our panel was “Media, Gambling, and Community Relations in Las Vegas.” The other two panelists discussed current events, and I gave the historical perspective about what the Prohibition gangsters who built the Las Vegas Strip were actually like, and how they interacted with the townspeople and gaming control. I detailed the realities of these gangsters’ lives and the specific risks that are inherent in gangsterism, based on my 50 years of researching them.

I was also asked to give my perspective on Dr. Bill Eadington who founded this conference and headed the Gaming Institute at UNR. I talked about how he inspired me in my career endeavors and what a wonderful human being he was. He wrote a Preface for my book “Designing Casinos to Dominate the Competition” and then had his Institute publish it. A second Preface was written by Shannon Bybee, who headed the Gaming Institute at UNLV. I reciprocated years later by writing the Preface for Shannon’s final book about the most important documents he produced during his career that was published by UNLV. I was in close contact with both men as long as they lived, and both men were outstanding mentors who always encouraged me in my efforts.