The Role of Mafia in Making Las Vegas the Gambling Capital of the World


Gambling and mafia go hand in hand. Since the beginning of cinema culture, we have seen antagonists engaging in the gambling business or playing high stakes game in a smoky room full of people with guns and drinking whiskey. This could be one of the reasons why gambling is still considered a bad thing in some cultures. Well, now the role of the mafia has decreased in gambling as online casinos and betting sites have become a new trend. Online gambling sites are licensed, and they offer legal platforms with fair games and lucrative bonuses like no deposit bingo, free spins no deposit, match bonuses, and many more. However, we cannot forget the role of mafia in the gambling in the past.

How It Started

Nearly 90 years ago in 1931, gambling became completely legal in Los Angeles. Well, this doesn’t mean that gambling was not a part of people’s lives. Legal gambling was continued as before, only everything was kept a little more secret and no longer carried out to the public.

Las Vegas was not a gambling capital until then. It was just a deserted place and it didn’t have much to offer. Cowboys used to take a short break there and there were a few bars and gas stations on the road. In the mid-1940s, when World War two ended, Mafia found the potential of gambling in Las Vegas. This even led Al Capone to wish to build hotels in the Sin City that we know today. Before Las Vegas became the gambling capital of the world, people used to travel to Cuba to play rounds of card games.

After the revolution under Fidel Castro, the rules in Cuba were changed and players started to drive to small casinos in Las Vegas. And here is the time for the Mafia bosses. Mafiosos like Meyer Lansky as well as Bugsy Siegel also recognized that Las Vegas has huge potential to become a gambling city

In the early 1940s, he discovered the spot with a few houses in the middle of the desert. Two small casinos were already doing business here. Siegel believed that the future would lie in legal gambling. First, he tried to take over one of the existing casinos, when he failed, he built the Flamingo several miles from the city center on a highway with the money from the mafia. However, his idea of building such hotels got flopped. Bad functions of casinos and frequent cases of theft upset the mafia bosses and Siegel was eliminated.

At this time, Meyer Lansky took the command, and he did what Siegel had hoped. The casino business of The Flamingo became a gold mine for the mafia. However, the mafia skillfully unnoticed the fact that their colleague Lansky likes to save part of the income into his own pockets. His success became known so quickly that it did not take long and that Las Vegas became a gambling destination in no time. Several resorts emerged that are still known to us today. The great examples are Stardust, the Riv, and Desert Inn.

In a nutshell, we can say that without the role of the mafia, Las Vegas might not have become the gambling capital of the world that we know today.

NCS