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

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Slick's Las Vegas Then & Now: 18th in Series

Photo: L. to R. Kirk Kerkorian & Steve Wynn

Corporate Greed

Why does everyone I know wish they could go back to the way Vegas once was? I think it has a lot to do with the current corporate greed that not only hurts Las Vegas, but the country as a whole.

I became friends with Frank Modica, owner of the Landmark Casino, when he hired me to manage his poker room. He told me something I’ll never forget. A shift manager came to him and showed him how the casino could hold a higher percentage on blackjack. Mr. Modica said, “Why would I want to do that? It would bust out players and they wouldn’t want to come back.” He went on to own the Showboat Casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Not bad for a guy who started out as a casino dealer.

Sure the mob was greedy with money they skimmed from Las Vegas casinos, but visitors to Sin City got a lot for their money. Even without the huge amount of comps, you could stay in a nice hotel, eat and see a lounge show without going home broke. The mob realized it was gambling where they made their killing.

As corporations took over in the 1980s, Vegas started growing at a phenomenal rate with high rises, million dollar condos and themed casinos and hotels going up everywhere. Greed made the Wall Street movers and shakers forget they were in the desert and not New York City.


Here's a time-line of corporate Las Vegas history:

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