Visiting the Island at UNLV Special Collections

The last of my trilogy of Tropicana birthday/anniversary pieces is this blog post from UNLV Special Collections that looks at a different era of the Strip mainstay that is celebrating its 60th: For research into the Tropicana, one of the best resources is the Tropicana Promotional and Publicity Material Collection, nine boxes of press clippings, … Read more

Sixty years ago, the Tropicana opened under Mob’s hidden control | The Mob Museum

To commemorate the April 4, 1957 opening of the Tropicana, I wrote a guest blog post for the Mob Museum: It just so happened that Conquistador’s owner, “Dandy” Phil Kastel, had a long and fruitful partnership with Frank Costello, perhaps the nation’s most infamous gangster in the spring of 1957. For years, Kastel had run … Read more

The NFL used to shun Las Vegas. Why is it moving a team there? – The Washington Post

I’ve written up a few thoughts for the Washington Posts’s Post Everything on why Las Vegas is suddenly acceptable to the NFL: The gambling industry here and football have been seeing each other secretly since the 1960s. But Monday’s 31-to-1 vote by league owners to permit the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas with … Read more

The NHL is coming to Las Vegas because America is now a casino nation – The Washington Post

I got the opportunity to write a piece about how the NHL’s announcement it is coming to Las Vegas fits in with the history of gambling for the Washington Post. Here is a small sample: In that atmosphere, professional sports — whose legitimacy has at times been tainted by gambling-related scandals from the infamous 1919 … Read more

Casinos in Canada

Casinos evolved quite differently in Canada from the United States, following a mix of the European statist model and the U.S. free enterprise one. Most casinos in Canada are owned by either a provincial government or run for charitable organizations.

Most of the charitable casinos are in Western Canada. The first provincially-owned casino in Eastern Canada, Quebec’s Casino de Montreal, opened in 1993, followed the following year by Ontario’s Casino Windsor, right across the border from downtown Detroit.

There is much more interesting material about casinos in Canada and everywhere else in Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling

Go here to read an excerpt from the book, or learn where to buy your copy.

What is Grandissimo?

This is a book project that I’ve been working on for several years. It’s the story of the man who I believe to be the single most influential figure in Las Vegas casinos in the 1960s and 1970s, but who unfortunately not many people know about.

I’m substantially finished the book, and hope to publish it later this year.

Until then, I’m using this space to let people know about the book.

Three excerpts from Roll the Bones


Today I’ve added three excerpts from Roll the Bones to the site to give you a little flavor of the book if you haven’t picked up a copy already. Enjoy!

1. Author’s Note/Prologue

This is the introductory overview to the book, giving an idea of its scope—and the changes in the Casino Edition.

2. Why the Mob won Vegas

This excerpt, from chapter 10, “A Place in the Sun,” explains how the Mob carved out influence on the Las Vegas Strip in the 1950s and 1960s, and why it was so dominant.


3. The Rise of Atlantic City

The opening pages of chapter 12, “America’s Playground…Again” discuss the rebirth and rise to (brief) dominance of Atlantic City’s casinos in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

To learn where you can buy Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling, please visit here

World War One and Atlantic City

In response to this photo and Bat-Signal request for more info, I wanted to post a link to an Atlantic City history column I’d written for Casino Connection a few (nine) years back. Turns out that it’s one of the 10 or so AC history pieces not in the Casino Connection archives.

Looking at the sixty or so articles I wrote for Casino Connection over the years, I think I have the core of a pretty good book. But some articles will need some revision, both for content and style.

So here is the entire article, which has the answer to the original question, “What is this?”…after the jump.

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