Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nevada's Golden Age Of Gambling by Al W. Moe

Al W. Moe has written an interesting well-researched reference book about the start of gambling in Nevada, and the golden years of 1931-1981.  Two factors created Nevada as a gambling haven.  The first was the passage in 1931 of a state law authorizing gambling as a legal activity when done in a club licensed by the state.  The other factor was the building of the Hoover Dam nearby, with hundreds of men stuck in the desert with nothing much to do with their pay.  The clubs grew up to support them and then went nationwide with their advertising and customer draw.

Moe talks about the Mafia and underworld figures that started many of the most famous clubs.  He discusses Bugsy Siegel and other figures and documents which clubs they owned for how long.  He also devotes a chapter to Howard Hughes, who lived in Las Vegas his last years as a recluse.  Although he owned casinos, he wasn't involved enough to make sure they were profitable.

Most of the clubs and casinos changed hands many times over the years.  There was a core group of investors who owned them, but their interest in any one club was often short-lived and they would move on to another club.  Moe painstakingly researches and draws the trail of ownership of the various establishments. 

Hollywood and the entertainment world was always heavily involved, as the casino owners knew that having high calibre talent would draw customers.  Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack were fixtures, as was Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.  Many of the country's best African-American entertainment celebrities did stints in Nevada.  Along with the celebrities came famous gamblers such as Jimmy The Greek and others.

While Las Vegas is the town most people associate with gambling, Moe documents the other towns that allowed and thrived on gambling.  Lake Tahoe and Reno were two of the larger cities.  But there were many smaller towns also such as Elko, Winnrmucca, Sparks and Carson City.

This book is recommended for readers interested in the history of the gambling industry in Nevada.  Moe spent many years in the industry himself and his love for this area of the country is clear to the reader. 

1 comment:

Stormi Johnson said...

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