One of the Mafia’s key areas of business has always been gambling. So much so, in fact, that it gave rise to the RICO Act. The Mafia has been involved in all areas of gambling, earning serious amounts of cash. They had many law enforcement agencies on their payroll. In fact, in one FBI probe, it was found that some 70,000 law enforcement professionals were seeing their payday supplemented in this way. However, in 1931, everything changed. This was when Nevada decided to legalize gambling. This meant that scamming and fraud was suddenly very different and victims had to be found in different ways. Chase Rubin Twitter has always been interested on what this all meant for the Mafia and Nevada as a whole.
Chase Rubin Twitter on the Mafia, Nevada, and More
When gambling was legalized, only some military men and local cowboys really paid attention to it. Las Vegas was nothing like what it is today. It was a tiny, dirty, desert town with some slot machines, junk food diners, and a couple of gas stations. Nobody, in the 1940s, really wanted to live there. However, towards the end of World War II, the Mafia started to pay attention. Al Capone in particular was interested in creating a casino hotel, although he never did manage to complete that.
Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky were the first real Mafioso to eye the city. They saw that Americans had to travel to Cuba for some gambling entertainment, where they would have the Batista regime to thank for their casino entertainment. Fidel Castro took power, however, and this brought an end to this – and a start to Las Vegas travel.
Siegel had a vision and the backing of Mafia money. Hence, on December 26, 1946, he opened The Flamingo, the first gambling resort in Las Vegas. Quickly, the Mafia invested more and more money into the city, effectively financing the Strip. However, Siegel was a swindler himself, scamming the Mafia out of their money. Hence, he was assassinated when he was unable to pay back his loans on time.
The Flamingo was then taken over by Lansky, and he changed everything. It took him just one year to turn it into a profitable resort, something that Lansky took all the credit for. He, like Siegel, took money from Union pension funds. However, because Lansky was successful, the Mafia condoned this.
The Mafia now had a presence all over the country. In the 50s, the New York City mafia families and the Chicago Outfit joined forces, opening the Riviera, the Desert Inn, and the Stardust. A decade later, the Fremont, Sahara, Golden Nugget, and Hacienda were added. Mafia presence, and resorts, continued to grow and continued to attract money. Nobody really knew who owned what anymore, but everybody got rich.
But then Howard Hughes showed up. He purchased 17 resorts after ensuring Nevada law changed to stop corporations to purchase resorts, casino, or hotels shares. That was pretty much the end of the Mafia’s influence. However, Hughes was not able to create the successes that the Mafia had, and he got out of the business. The Mafia did return, but the FBI took much of these activities down in the 1980s, ensuring casinos were run by legitimate organizations instead.