In his 30 Illegal Years to the Strip Bill Friedman explains how the early Mob bosses created illegal gambling empires after prohibition. Some of these men went on to help create modern Las Vegas. Al Capone, Frank Nitti, Charles Luciano, John Torrio, Moe Dalitz, Meyer Lansky and Joe Adonis and Frank Costello created the modern criminal Syndicate that ruled organized crime in the United States. He wrote “The seven leaders of the three dominating Prohibition gangs imported the world’s finest liquors on a massive scale. Although they conducted their business in an illegal and dangerous world, these seven espoused traditional business values and rejected the key tools of organized crime – monopoly, violence, and vendetta. This made them the most unlikely gangsters to rise to underworld leadership. But they earned every criminal’s respect, and fate made them the most powerful gangland leaders in American history.”
In this 2 part series, Bill focuses on Frank Costello and how he rose to be the Boss of Bosses and retired peacefully to die a natural death. Bill has an interesting theory. He believes that what we know as the modern Las Vegas entertainment and convention mecca would never have been, except for these mobsters. Bill would say the early casino operators were incapable of managing and successfully operating a gambling casino. They soon turned to the men who knew how to run a casino, the Mob.