Why THIS Eyesore Replaced the Mob-Run Stardust Resort in Las Vegas?
It was operated by men associated with Chicago and Cleveland crime syndicates.
Courtesy of UNLV Special Collections.
The Stardust was renowned for necessary wynn las vegas poker schedule think neon signage and topless showgirls — and notorious for its underworld connections.
Tony Cornero first conceived of the Stardust former las vegas casinos the early 1950s.
It would be the crowning achievement he sought following a checkered past in the casino business.
Cornero, whose family moved to the United States from northern Former las vegas casinos when he was a child, had a long history in Las Vegas.
He was fresh out of federal prison when Nevada legalized commercial gambling in 1931.
Cornero had done well for himself in the rum-running business in Southern California during Prohibition, but ran afoul of Uncle Sam on bootlegging charges.
Located just outside the city limits where Fremont Street merges into Boulder Highway, the Meadows brought a touch of glamour to the desert, and might have been a model for self-contained casinos far from the urban core.
But the Cornero brothers struggled as owners.
When a fire erupted in the casino, the Las Vegas Fire Department refused to battle the blaze because the Meadows was located outside the city limits.
Left with a hotel and a burned-out casino building, the Corneros sold their interest in the property.
In 1938, Tony began operating offshore gambling ships in Southern California, including one dubbed the S.
He maintained that since his former las vegas casinos were three miles out to sea, state and federal laws did not apply.
But California Governor Earl Former las vegas casinos felt differently.
So did the U.
Supreme Court, which ruled that his casino ships operated in state waters.
Cornero returned to Las Vegas in 1944 to join some partners in a small casino, the S.
Rex, at the Apache Hotel on Fremont Street.
But after a falling out with his partners, Cornero left the S.
That year, back in Southern California, he launched another casino ship off Long Beach, but the U.
Coast Guard seized it, ending his nautical efforts there.
In 1948, while meeting at his home in Beverly Hills with potential investors in a casino project in Mexico, a supposed deliveryman appeared at the door and shot Cornero in the abdomen.
Though critically wounded, he recovered, but the Mexican deal fell through.
Construction of the Stardust, planned to have 1,000 hotel rooms, was well on its way in 1955.
So he inked a deal with investors headed by former Los Angeles illegal gambler Milton B.
But fate soon turned away from Cornero again.
Construction of the Stardust was nearly three-quarters complete.
The Stardust opened in a blaze of fireworks on July 2, 1958.
With its 1,000 guest rooms, it was bigger than any hotel previously opened in Las Vegas.
But the real star of montelago lake vegas casino Stardust at its opening was the Lido de Paris, the first topless French revue production staged in Las Vegas.
Producer Donn Arden became renowned both for the technical complexity of the Lido — the former las vegas casinos mounted on six hydraulic lifts that could raise and lower it as the drama demanded — and the beauty of the costumed showgirls.
The sign was a record-setter, as was the 105-foot-long Big Dipper pool.
Dalitz and his associates ran a profitable casino with the help of manager Johnny Drew.
The Desert Inn crew remained lessees of Factor and his associates until 1965, when they became the owners of the property.
Three years later, Howard Hughes attempted unsuccessfully to buy the Stardust.
Throughout the 1960s, the Stardust expanded.
It added a nine-story tower, bringing its total room count close to 1,500, and several new restaurants.
The most fondly remembered were seafood restaurant Moby Dick and the Polynesian hotspot Aku Aku.
Although both are now long gone, at least one piece of the Former las vegas casinos Aku survives.
One of the two moai stone statues that graced the front of the restaurant stands on an island in the big lake at Sunset Park in Las Vegas.
Keno was another Stardust innovation of the 1960s.
It had long been played in downtown casinos, but the Stardust, under manager Jerry Steinberg, brought it to the Strip in 1967.
Allen Glick, a San Diego real estate investor, bought the Stardust in 1974.
But his Argent Corporation proved to be a front for a massive skimming operation by a syndicate of Midwestern crime families.
Courtesy of Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Glick, a previously obscure San Diego attorney and real estate developer, first bought the Hacienda Hotel on the Strip, and then the Fremont Hotel downtown and the Stardust.
How did he do former las vegas casinos />But Rosenthal was able to bring in enough big players that dealers saw their tips increase.
That alone made him popular on the casino floor.
While Rosenthal had the casino making money, he also supervised a slot and table game skimming operation that ultimately funneled millions to the Mob.
In the early 1980s, federal investigators confirmed that since 1974, Stardust employees, working on behalf of several Midwestern Mob bosses, stole large amounts of cash from the Stardust and Fremont casinos.
Those indicted included Joseph Aiuppa, head of the Chicago Outfit; Carl Civella, Mafia chief in Kansas City; and Milwaukee syndicate boss Frank Balistrieri.
After the skim was exposed, Nevada gaming authorities placed Rosenthal in the Black Book, banning him for life from Nevada casinos.
Courtesy of Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Later, authorities charged mobsters in Cleveland with sharing in the stolen casino proceeds with the other Mob families.
Amid the allegations, Argent sold the Former las vegas casinos to a group run by two veteran casino executives, Herb Tobman and Allan Sachs.
While at first heralded as a new beginning for the Stardust, evidence of continued skimming surfaced, and the state forced Tobman and Sachs to relinquish control of the casino.
At the request of Nevada gaming regulators, the Boyd Group assumed the day-to-day operations of the Stardust.
In 1985, Boyd bought both the Stardust and Fremont.
As new owner, Boyd made several controversial changes in the Stardust.
It replaced the famous Lido de Paris — which had inspired several imitators and gave a stage to young magicians Siegfried and Roy — with the less-revered stage show Enter the Night in 1992.
While the Stardust remained popular, it was never as profitable as the new casinos of the megaresort era.
Boyd closed the property in 2006.
Its ill-timed replacement resort, the Echelon hotel-casino, fell victim to the Great Recession and construction was halted.
Schwartz, author of several books on Las Vegas gaming history, is director of the Center for Gaming Research and teaches history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
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