The Mafia, gambling and the Las Vegas casino business

It is not uncommon for people to underestimate how powerful and influential the mafia has been in America throughout its history. They ran anything, from benches and bars, even to comics. No, it’s not a joke – Marvel Comics, in particular, was funded by a mob , which is why they had to refer to any criminal organizations in the comics under the name “Maggia”, to avoid incitement to ire of mafiosso. With so many connections spread across all aspects of American culture, how shocking would it be to learn that the mafia not only had its fingers all over the gambling pie, but baked it in the first place?

But as rich as he was, Bugsy’s appetite was insatiable. He retired from murder in the 1940s, deciding to continue real estate and construction work instead. Why? Because Bugsy smelled like an opportunity and, true to her nickname, she wanted to be the first to take it. In 1931, the state of Nevada officially legalized gambling, seeking to provide another source of income from casinos and resorts in the area. Until then, American mobsters often went to Havana to gamble, so the presence of a high-quality casino resort on domestic soil was in their best interest, especially if it could generate revenue.

As such, many crime families have instructed Bugsy to find a suitable place in Nevada where such a resort could be built feasibly. In the end, he chose Las Vegas, which seems like the obvious choice today, but at the time the city was less of a nightlife and more of a metropolis than anything you’d see in a city. bad show from Wild West.

Which, frankly, suited Bugsy. A smaller and quieter city would be much cheaper to build than a place that was already full of similar places, and once the construction was done, the resort’s popularity could easily attract tourism to the city. As such, the man set out to work at The Flamingo – a huge hotel resort that would have a casino and a state-of-the-art games room. The initial budget that the mafia allocated for the construction of The Flamingo was $ 1.5 million (about 14 million pounds in cash today), but the final price at the opening of the resort was four times higher than the amount of about $ 6 million (£ 58 million in cash today).

Why? Well, because Bugsy wasn’t an idiot. So he ridiculously overburdened his investors, getting rid of the money and getting out of it richer than he ever dreamed. Unfortunately, his wealth did not take him far, because when the mafia realized what he had done, they put a bullet in his head . But hey, at least Flamingo Resort turned out to be a very nice place!

Fortunately, The Flamingo proved to be a great success, quickly becoming one of the main producers of mafia money. It also helped that – in 1959, Fidel Castro officially banned gambling in Cuba , completely destroying the gambling paradises that the mafia enjoyed in Havana and practically forcing them to play in Vegas. Gradually, this income proved to be enough to fund several resorts in the city that, like Flamingo, remain to this day, such as the Riviera and Stardust. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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