The Mafia and the casino business

In the first half of the 20th century, the mafia had everything you could wish for and more. When there was a shortage of work during the Great Depression, you could always find a decent job in the businesses of the local crime boss who tortured the hoodlums.

Considering this, does it seem so surprising that the Mafia revolutionised the American gambling industry as we know it?

How a mobster built Las Vegas

Many people have underestimated the power and influence of the Mafia in America throughout its history. The organisation has financed everything from banks and bars to comic books.

No, the latter is no joke; the Marvel Comics company, in particular, was funded by the mafia, which is why they needed to refer to criminal organisations within their comics as "The Maggia" to avoid inciting the wrath of mobsters.

Bugsy Siegel is considered to be the father of Las Vegas. Born in 1906 into a Jewish immigrant family as Benjamin Siegel, he knew nothing but poverty. To make a living, at the tender age of 14, he headed his first gang.

The rapid growth of his gang earned him the nickname "Bugsy", which means "quick as a bedbug". He attracted the attention of many big mobsters who began hiring him to do everything from business transactions assassinations.

New opportunities

In the early 1940s, he retired from the criminal sphere and decided to pursue real estate and construction. Why did he do this? Because Bugsy sensed a new opportunity and actual to his name, he wanted to be the first to grab it.

In 1931 the state of Nevada officially legalised gambling in search of new sources of revenue from casinos and resorts in the area. Until then, American mobsters used to go to Havana to gamble.

Bugsy chose Las Vegas, which, although today it seems to us the best variant, the city was more reminiscent of westerns than a megalopolis.

Las Vegas in the 1940s

The site was perfect for Bugsy's idea. It would be much cheaper to build in a small, quiet town than in an area already full of similar venues. Once construction was complete, the popularity of the complex could easily attract tourists to the city.

The entrepreneur set to work and began constructing the Flamingo, a giant hotel complex that would provide a state-of-the-art casino and gaming hall.

The mob's initial budget for the construction of Flamingo was $1.5 million, but the final price tag before the resort opened was four times as high, around $6 million.

Why? Because Bugsy was smart and knew this would be a big deal, and he wasn't about to let it go to waste. So he shamelessly started overcharging his investors by collecting money under the table and came out of this deal richer than he could have ever dreamed of.

However, his wealth didn't get him very far because when the mafia realised what he had done, they murdered him. But at least the Flamingo resort looked very lovely.

Las Vegas today

It is safe to say that, were it not for the efforts of Bugsy and Lanski, gambling in America, or at least Las Vegas, would not exist. Although it may not be known how far the mafia's control of Vegas extends today. It remains a fact that, for better or worse, modern gambling across the pond was established with dirty money.

However, according to rumours, the presence of the mafia in roulette is not very strong. So maybe this is where you should play from the comfort of your home without the risk of meeting these scary people. You may use the for the best choice.

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