The Mob Birthed Las Vegas, It Did Not Succeed It

Las Vegas’ connection to the mob is its ancestry. However, corporate casinos are its future. The “Mobbed Up” podcast explains how Vegas’ casino industry was born and what role mobsters played in it. 

“Mobbed Up” Podcast Looks into Las Vegas’ Crime Families 

The Mob once flocked to Las Vegas, fully cognizant of the desert city’s potential. Of course, at the time, Vegas wasn’t much of a city. Yet, even Mafiosi have been unable to withstand the change of times with the criminal families of the United States birthing Sin City, but surely not its rightful successors. 

When the first Mafiosi arrived in Vegas in the 1920s, they immediately pushed for the parched piece of land’s transformation. They surely were successful, relying on a good word and a compelling business argument.

The eight-series podcast developed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and The Museum completed its second season, hosted by Jeff German, a famed journalist who has gone reporting and investing in The Mob for over 40 years and who has shed a lot of light on how The Mob got in Las Vegas and was subsequently evicted by regulation and law enforcement. The “Mobbed Up” had a lot of insight to offer. 

Birthed by Mobsters, Succeeded by Corporations 

Once a lawless arena of powerful and often clandestine business interests, regulators was quick to catch up to the Mafiosi and created The Black Book, a blacklist where all suspected mobsters were lumped together and prevented from running or even approaching casinos. 

The government was happy to see the birth of Las Vegas, but stepped in swiftly when mobsters thought that they could flout the law as they pleased. In the 1960s, the Nevada Corporate Gaming Act was passed, demanding from anyone participating in the running of gambling businesses to be registered and declare the source of their income. That gave an edge to upstanding investors who were just as vicious in their dealings, although that only had to do with actual business affairs. 

According to US Senate majority leader Harry Reid, the legislation did a lot to end the reign of the crime families in Las Vegas and present them with the harsh truth – their operations would not continue. The podcast ran to address various issues resolved by the passing of a regulatory framework that ostracized mobsters and turned them into social pariahs. 

For one, argued Nevada Gaming Commission member George Stewarts, today’s casinos do not support burying people in shallow graves because they misbehave. The mobsters, though, could be trying to get back. However, Reid doesn’t see that to be the case any time soon. 

Mobsters and their families and connections are now known to the state and law enforcement, and new license applications undergo extensive background checks that would show previous relationships to a crime family. Even if generations have changed, there is still the social stigma of allowing someone in the mobsters’ kin to run things in Vegas.  

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