$8,000,000,000

                  24 hrs




35,000,000
Overview
 Benjamin ―Bugsy‖ Siegel and the Flamingo

 The Golden Age of Las Vegas

 The Downfall of Organized Crime
Overview
 Benjamin ―Bugsy‖ Siegel and the Flamingo
  •   Las Vegas prior to Siegel’s Arrival
  •   Siegel’s Background
  ...
Overview
 Benjamin ―Bugsy‖ Siegel and the Flamingo

 The Golden Age of Las Vegas
  • Organized Crime Claims Stake to Las...
Overview
 Benjamin ―Bugsy‖ Siegel and the Flamingo

 The Golden Age of Las Vegas

 The Downfall of Organized Crime
  • ...
Las Vegas: Early 1900s
 3 events during early 1900s that
  would lead to the arrival of Siegel
  • Boulder Canyon Project...
Las Vegas: Early 1900s
 Las Vegas found itself as a tourist
  destination
  • Hoover Dam
  • Gambling
  • Divorce


 Sta...
Benjamin ―Bugsy‖ Siegel
 Leader of the Bug and
  Lansky crime organization
  in New York
 Alleged president of
  Murder ...
Benjamin ―Bugsy‖ Siegel
 On an earlier visit, Siegel saw a lucrative
  business opportunity in Las Vegas

 ―I figured it ...
Benjamin ―Bugsy‖ Siegel
 Siegel was ambitious
  • Wanted to expand New
    York Mob’s influence to
    the west coast
  •...
Siegel’s Arrival to Las Vegas
 Meets Billy Wilkerson
  • Shares the same vision: to turn Las Vegas
    into a gambling pa...
Siegel’s Arrival to Las Vegas
 Siegel was now ready to begin his dream

 ―he foresaw an oasis in the desert where travele...
The Flamingo
 Siegel called his hotel oasis the Flamingo
  • Construction began in 1945
  • Original expense of $1,200,00...
The Flamingo
 Siegel came under pressure for the high
  construction costs
  • Mob partners wanted Siegel to cut his lose...
The Flamingo
 Despite pressure, Siegel promised to open
  the Flamingo in December 1946
  • Construction was not complete...
The Flamingo
 The Grand opening was a disaster
  • Bad weather
  • Siegel could not fly in his Hollywood friends
 After ...
Siegel’s Death
 Lucky Luciano order
  a ―hit‖ on Siegel
  • Suspected Bugsy of
    skimming $$$ from
    the Flamingo


...
Siegel’s Death
 Mob leaders took control of the Flamingo

 Though Siegel did not live to witness it, he
  opened the doo...
Organized Crime Claims Stake
 Siegel had awoken the mob to possibilities
  in Las Vegas

 The 20 year span following the...
Organized Crime Claims Stake
 The mob begins to build some of the most
  lavish resorts
  • Borrowed $$$ from the Teamste...
Organized Crime Claims Stake
 The effect of this building boom can best
  be described by David Spanier:
 Such men [mobst...
The 1950s and 60s
 Casinos provided continuous
  entertainment from dusk till dawn
    • Hosting the likes of
       – Do...
The 1950s and 60s
 Showgirls became the unofficial icon of
  Las Vegas
  • Huge productions
  • First topless show
    in...
The 1950s and 60s
 During the period, mob leaders were
  careful to ensure their continued
  operations
  • Many politici...
The 1950s and 60s
 Even with the measures to steer clear of
  law enforcement, a city-wide clean up
  effort began in the...
Hughes’ Arrival to Las Vegas
 Howard Hughes, the world’s wealthiest
  man, arrived in Las Vegas on November
  27, 1966

...
Hughes’ Purchases
 Hughes asked to vacate the Desert Inn—
  early 1967
  • Hughes refused
  • Instead purchased the Deser...
Hughes’ Purchases
 Hughes wanted to change Las Vegas
  • A glamorous, wholesome city
  • This matched the clean-up act ta...
Hughes’ Purchases
 In 1967 Hughes began purchasing casinos

 Same year, the Nevada State Legislature
  passed the Corpor...
Hughes’ Purchases
 Hughes became aware of the Desert Inn’s
  potential and was determined to obtain as many
  casinos as ...
Corporations Invest in Las Vegas
 Hughes dispelled many corporations’ fears
  about investing in mob-controlled Las Vegas...
Corporations Invest in Las Vegas
 Hughes paved the way for corporations
  and Wall Street investors
 Corporate America c...
Corporations Invest in Las Vegas
 With the capital available from
  corporations, Las Vegas had little need for
  the mob...
Corporations Invest in Las Vegas
 Corporations continued to buy resorts until
  the late 1980s
 In the 1990s new resorts...
Questions?
Vegas Project
Vegas Project
Vegas Project
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Vegas Project

  1. 1. $8,000,000,000 24 hrs 35,000,000
  2. 2. Overview  Benjamin ―Bugsy‖ Siegel and the Flamingo  The Golden Age of Las Vegas  The Downfall of Organized Crime
  3. 3. Overview  Benjamin ―Bugsy‖ Siegel and the Flamingo • Las Vegas prior to Siegel’s Arrival • Siegel’s Background • Siegel’s Arrival to Las Vegas • The Flamingo • Siegel’s Death
  4. 4. Overview  Benjamin ―Bugsy‖ Siegel and the Flamingo  The Golden Age of Las Vegas • Organized Crime Claims Stake to Las Vegas • The 1950s and 60s
  5. 5. Overview  Benjamin ―Bugsy‖ Siegel and the Flamingo  The Golden Age of Las Vegas  The Downfall of Organized Crime • Howard Hughes’ Arrival to Las Vegas • Hughes’ Purchases • Corporations Invest in Las Vegas
  6. 6. Las Vegas: Early 1900s  3 events during early 1900s that would lead to the arrival of Siegel • Boulder Canyon Project – 1928 – 42,000+ laborers • Legalization of gambling – 1931 • Implementation of lenient divorce laws – 1931 – 6 weeks residency
  7. 7. Las Vegas: Early 1900s  Las Vegas found itself as a tourist destination • Hoover Dam • Gambling • Divorce  Stage was now set for the arrival one of the most infamous and feared mobsters of the 20th century
  8. 8. Benjamin ―Bugsy‖ Siegel  Leader of the Bug and Lansky crime organization in New York  Alleged president of Murder Inc. • Executed people for $$$  Moved to Las Vegas after being arrested for murders in L.A.
  9. 9. Benjamin ―Bugsy‖ Siegel  On an earlier visit, Siegel saw a lucrative business opportunity in Las Vegas ―I figured it this way. If people will take a trip out to the ocean to gamble, they’ll go to a desert too—especially if it’s legal and they don’t have to worry about getting pinched. So one day I drive into Nevada looking for a nice desert spot and I picked this one because the price is right and it’s on the main road to LA‖ -Benjamin ―Bugsy‖ Siegel
  10. 10. Benjamin ―Bugsy‖ Siegel  Siegel was ambitious • Wanted to expand New York Mob’s influence to the west coast • Dreamed of ―building a luxurious hotel and high class casino, a place where high-rollers and penny-ante operators alike would come to strike it rich, all the while leaving their money for the mob‖ -(Carpozi 5)
  11. 11. Siegel’s Arrival to Las Vegas  Meets Billy Wilkerson • Shares the same vision: to turn Las Vegas into a gambling paradise • In the process of building a hotel  Jan 1945: Wilkerson is deeply in debt • Siegel convinces the New York Mob to finance $1,000,000 investment • Siegel now controls the project
  12. 12. Siegel’s Arrival to Las Vegas  Siegel was now ready to begin his dream ―he foresaw an oasis in the desert where travelers from coast to coast could come and enjoy the fun, gambling and entertainment‖ -(Carpozi 27)
  13. 13. The Flamingo  Siegel called his hotel oasis the Flamingo • Construction began in 1945 • Original expense of $1,200,00 • Ended up costing $6,000,000 – Materials were hard to come by because of WW II – Siegel knew little about construction and workers often stole from the project site
  14. 14. The Flamingo  Siegel came under pressure for the high construction costs • Mob partners wanted Siegel to cut his loses or scale back the project – Siegel refused • At one point Siegel threatens the life of notorious mobster Charles ―Lucky‖ Luciano
  15. 15. The Flamingo  Despite pressure, Siegel promised to open the Flamingo in December 1946 • Construction was not complete • Mob partners wanted him to wait …the Flamingo was a turning point because it combined the sophisticated ambience of a Monte Carlo casino with the luxury of a Miami Beach-Caribbean resort. The Flamingo liberated Las Vegas from the confines of its western heritage.  December 26, 1946 the Flamingo opened -Eugene P. Moehring
  16. 16. The Flamingo  The Grand opening was a disaster • Bad weather • Siegel could not fly in his Hollywood friends  After 2 weeks and a $300,000 loss, the Flamingo closed  March 1947 reopened after construction was complete • Made a profit • Too late for Siegel
  17. 17. Siegel’s Death  Lucky Luciano order a ―hit‖ on Siegel • Suspected Bugsy of skimming $$$ from the Flamingo  June 20, 1947—Siegel murdered • Shot 5 times • Bungalow in Hollywood
  18. 18. Siegel’s Death  Mob leaders took control of the Flamingo  Though Siegel did not live to witness it, he opened the door to Las Vegas for the mob  Success of the Flamingo spurred development and cemented organized crime’s investment in Las Vegas
  19. 19. Organized Crime Claims Stake  Siegel had awoken the mob to possibilities in Las Vegas  The 20 year span following the Flamingo and Siegel’s death was truly a ―Golden Period‖ • Las Vegas was in the hands of the mob
  20. 20. Organized Crime Claims Stake  The mob begins to build some of the most lavish resorts • Borrowed $$$ from the Teamster pension fund through the Teamster’s head, Jimmy Hoffa • Capital was used to build the: – Aladdin – Circus Circus – Sands – Dunes – Tropicana
  21. 21. Organized Crime Claims Stake  The effect of this building boom can best be described by David Spanier: Such men [mobsters] set the style of Vegas, in the formative years, rather like the cowboy set the image of the west. Townspeople took it all quite calmly, and rather bragged about the fact that ―that fellow from Murder Inc. has come to Las Vegas and is going to build the most fabulous place that anyone ever heard of…‖ The only attitude I ever got out of the town was ―Hooray! He’s going to bring money into the town.‖ Tourists, too, have always been fascinated by the gangsters in their midst…
  22. 22. The 1950s and 60s  Casinos provided continuous entertainment from dusk till dawn • Hosting the likes of – Don Rickles – Buddy Hackett – Alan King – Nat King Cole – Dean Martin – Jerry Lewis – Frank Sinatra – Sammy Davis Jr. – Elvis Presley
  23. 23. The 1950s and 60s  Showgirls became the unofficial icon of Las Vegas • Huge productions • First topless show introduced at the Desert Inn  Hotels made $$$ off entertainment • Initially a scheme to get people to gamble • Flourished into an industry in itself
  24. 24. The 1950s and 60s  During the period, mob leaders were careful to ensure their continued operations • Many politicians were indebted to the mob – Organized crime invested millions into the city • Mob bosses kept gang wars from tainting Las Vegas
  25. 25. The 1950s and 60s  Even with the measures to steer clear of law enforcement, a city-wide clean up effort began in the 1960s • Pressure from the FBI and attorney general  In spite of this crackdown, the mob continued to flourish  Still, organized crime’s reign in Las Vegas would soon end
  26. 26. Hughes’ Arrival to Las Vegas  Howard Hughes, the world’s wealthiest man, arrived in Las Vegas on November 27, 1966  Hughes moved into the mob-controlled Desert Inn • Rented the entire top floor
  27. 27. Hughes’ Purchases  Hughes asked to vacate the Desert Inn— early 1967 • Hughes refused • Instead purchased the Desert Inn for $13,250,00 in cash  Hughes seen as a savior for the city— rescuing Las Vegas from the mob
  28. 28. Hughes’ Purchases  Hughes wanted to change Las Vegas • A glamorous, wholesome city • This matched the clean-up act taking place in the city at the time  Hughes wielded enormous political and economic power • State officials soon realized that Hughes’ power, fame, and wealth could help Las Vegas
  29. 29. Hughes’ Purchases  In 1967 Hughes began purchasing casinos  Same year, the Nevada State Legislature passed the Corporate Gaming Act • In essence opened the doors for corporations to own casinos
  30. 30. Hughes’ Purchases  Hughes became aware of the Desert Inn’s potential and was determined to obtain as many casinos as possible  From 1966—1970 Hughes purchased: • 6 casinos • $30,000,000 in land • An airport • An airline • A TV station
  31. 31. Corporations Invest in Las Vegas  Hughes dispelled many corporations’ fears about investing in mob-controlled Las Vegas  Respected chains and companies were now ready to invest in Las Vegas
  32. 32. Corporations Invest in Las Vegas  Hughes paved the way for corporations and Wall Street investors  Corporate America could invest far more than the mob could illegally skim for casinos in years  Mob leaders saw an opportunity to sell-out and retire • Thus ended more than 20 years of Las Vegas’ control by organized crime
  33. 33. Corporations Invest in Las Vegas  With the capital available from corporations, Las Vegas had little need for the mob • Mid 1970s: the Nevada Gaming Control Board begins penalizing and refusing gaming licenses to know mobsters • Mid 1980s: organized crime has mostly all disappeared
  34. 34. Corporations Invest in Las Vegas  Corporations continued to buy resorts until the late 1980s  In the 1990s new resorts began to be constructed  Many iconic resorts from the 1950s and 60s, including the Dunes and Sands, were demolished to make way
  35. 35. Questions?

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