Emergence of the Mafia in Las Vegas

Mafia and Las Vegas as a casino city

The Mafia has always regarded gambling to be an important business. Right from betting on horses, to card games and other types of sports, the members of the Mafia are said to have earned huge from them. Also, they did operate several luxurious and illegal gambling operations across the U.S. Law enforcement agencies and Police Officers were considered to be on the payroll of the different Mafia families that operated in Las Vegas and beyond and hence, ignored all their illegal operations, thereby protecting their activities and enhancing their growth and power. But a significant event that took place in 1931 completely changed casinos and gambling history in the U.S., with the Nevada State legalizing gambling.


Las Vegas during the early 1940s was regarded to be a dirty town located in the desert middle with just few junk food diners, slot machine emporiums and gas stations. It was not a good place for residing or doing business. It was only after the ending of the Second World War that moneymaking potentiality was discovered by the Mafias in this part of the country. It was with great interest that the town had been eyed by Al Capone. However, his plans of making the place into a haven for casinos and hotels for travelers and tourists were never completed.

Emergence of the Mafias in Las Vegas

This place remained Mafia free for a long time, until its potentiality was discovered by Mafioso Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky. Before its formation, travelers had to visit Cuba for enjoying their time. The highly corrupt Batista regime had then welcomed gangsters in Cuba and casinos made huge profits. With the revolution by Fidel Castro and opening of the very first casino at Las Vegas compelled people with no other option to choose this city for legal gambling.

It was the excellent organizational skill and imagination of Siegel as well as Mafia money that the initial gambling resort of the city named ‘The Flamingo ‘was launched on 26th December 1946. Thus began the first of several Mafia financed resorts, while Las Vegas is said to have proved to be a highly profitable as well as legal business for Mafia members. It was due to the efforts, organizational and innovation skills of the different Mafia that the once dull desert town, has been presently converted into the much glitzy ‘Strip’ that is visited by tourists not only from within the country, but from all parts of the world to get indulged in gambling and to seek pleasures.