THIEF! The Gutsy, True Story of an Ex-Con Artist

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THIEF! character, Vince Eli

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Slick's Las Vegas Then & Now: 6th in Series

The Las Vegas Strip is Born

If you traveled south from downtown on Las Vegas Blvd., you’d hit The Las Vegas Strip where most of the mob-run casinos and hotels sprang up. (Photo at right around 1977.) There was the Stardust, a carpet joint, that the Chicago Outfit called home. The Riviera was licensed to Ross Miller who ran an Outfit strip joint on Chicago’s Wilson Ave. His son became governor of Nevada. The Desert Inn was managed by Moe Dalitz and his Cleveland mob, as I mentioned earlier. Doc Stacher, a New York mobster, owned the Sands until it was purchased by Howard Hughes in 1967, making it legitimate. The Dunes at one time was owned by Major Riddle, a Chicago bookmaker, and Morris Shenker who represented Ray Patriarca of the New England Mafia. It’s also been said Shenker was associated with the St. Louis mob. The Bellagio now occupies the land vacated by the Sands after it was imploded. Further south on the Strip, Frank Costello and Sam Giancana had a piece of the Tropicana, just to name a few. Of course there was Ben Siegel’s infamous Flamingo. That’s just a quick recap from my own failing memory. You can probably understand why this section is so short.

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