Grasso, Tony Interview, 1980 February 29 & March 01. OH-00714. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
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UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles i Interviews with Tony Grasso and Doug Charles An Oral History Conducted by Coleen Seifert Ralph Roske Oral History Project on Early Las Vegas Special Collections and Archives Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada, Las Vegas UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles ii © Ralph Roske Oral History Project on Early Las Vegas University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2018 UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles iii The Oral History Research Center (OHRC) was formally established by the Board of Regents of the University of Nevada System in September 2003 as an entity of the UNLV University Libraries’ Special Collections Division. The OHRC conducts oral interviews with individuals who are selected for their ability to provide first-hand observations on a variety of historical topics in Las Vegas and Southern Nevada. The OHRC is also home to legacy oral history interviews conducted prior to its establishment including many conducted by UNLV History Professor Ralph Roske and his students. This legacy interview transcript received minimal editing, such as the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader's understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. The interviewee/narrator was not involved in the editing process. UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles iv Abstract On February 29, 1980, Coleen Seifert interviewed Tony Grasso (born 1926 in Brooklyn, New York) about his career in gaming. Grasso first provides details on his background and how he ended up moving to Las Vegas in 1951 before talking about his experience as a dealer in some of the early casinos. He also talks a little about the different roles and games that casino workers deal and how players are invited to visit casinos. The interview concludes with a discussion on gaming unions and Grasso’s future plans. On a date that soon followed the above date, Seifert also interviewed Doug Charles (born 1954 in Brooklyn, New York) about his career in the gaming industry. Charles also talks about his family background, his arrival to Las Vegas in 1957, and the early development of the various gaming properties in Las Vegas. He later goes into detail over some of his experiences as a dealer, his opinions on mob control over gaming, and some of the political and legal issues that have arisen in Las Vegas gaming. Grasso also talks about issues and controversies related to the gaming unions, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and his then-current work at the Aladdin casino. UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 1 This is Coleen Seifert, and I’ll be interviewing Mr. Tony Grasso, currently a floorman at the Aladdin Hotel. I’ll be interviewing him at the Aladdin Hotel in the coffee shop during his lunch break. So just for the record, what is your name? Tony Grasso. Okay. And your date and place of birth? 7/22/26, Brooklyn, New York. Okay, and your nationality? Italian. Okay. In your lifetime, where have you lived? New York and Las Vegas, Nevada. And what kind of education did you have? High school. Any college? No. Nothing? Did you, when you came here to Vegas, did you go to dealing school or anything like that? No. No? They didn’t have dealer schools in— At that time? No. (Laughs) Okay. So, do you remember what year you came to Vegas, specifically? It was around 1951. UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 2 Okay. It had to be—that’s twenty-nine years ago. What brought you to Vegas? Come out to see what was going on. Job opportunities or you were just travelling around? Yes. Okay, did you come with any of your family—? No, I came alone. Sisters—oh, okay. Now when you came to Vegas, did you know anybody when you got here? No. Did anybody refer you—what was Vegas like then? Just a desert. Nothing—? All there was, was Downtown. Those were the only casinos? That’s all. Which ones were there? Are they still standing? The ones that were standing are still there—(unintelligible) post office was where the Golden Nugget is. Really? (Laughs) That’s funny. So how many casinos were there Downtown at that time? There was about five. About five? UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 3 Yes. How many people were in Vegas? Not too many. You mean locals? Yeah, I mean, that actually lived and worked in Vegas? Not too many. What would you say, four or five thousand, or? Oh no, there was more than that. Probably 20,000. 20,000? Yes. That was back in fifty—okay. What did you do when you first came to Las Vegas? Started as a dealer. And they had no schools the time that you had to go, you just took a shot at it and worked your way— I used to fool around back home with crap games. Did you work craps, then, when you came here? Oh yeah, I started out as a crap dealer. So what casinos did you work in over the years? Jeez, I’ll give you the whole list. Go ahead. Started out working the Golden Nugget, the Fremont, Pioneer, Golden Gate, out to the El Rancho, Frontier, Sahara, Riviera, Desert Inn, and the New Frontier. Was this all as a crap dealer? No, all different variety of games. UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 4 When did you start working as a floorman, or did you do that at that time? No, back at the Fremont. I worked as box man at the Riviera, box man at the Fremont, box man, floorman at the Frontier. And you said you worked at the Desert Inn? Yes. That was before the remodeling, obviously. Oh, yes. This is when— When it was—wasn’t the Desert Inn at that time, that was really the hotel, that and the Tropicana? Oh, yes. And the Flamingo—was that a pretty big one, too? Yes, that came afterwards. That was (unintelligible). Okay, so when you came here, did you come here looking for a job, or you just happened to wander through and then decided to stay? Well, I knew what was here and I thought I’d come out here and see if I can get in. Okay. So, you were basically—did you ever deal twenty-one at all? Sure. You dealt quite—you’ve done so many things, it’s hard to pinpoint all of them. Okay, how long have you been at the Aladdin now? Three years. Three years. Since you seem to have a pretty knowledgeable background as far as the operations of casinos, could you describe the different jobs? Like, okay, a dealer at blackjack deals the cards—what does a box—? UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 5 There’s all kinds of dealers: crap dealers, twenty-one dealers, Big 6 dealers, roulette dealers, baccarat—they start from the bottom, they’re the dealers. Yes. They do the work. All right. What does a box man do, for instance? The box man watches the crap dealers, see that they don’t make no mistake. Those are the stick men, what they call the stick men? No, box men—sits down in the middle of the— But he’s watching the stick man, is that correct? He watches everybody. Yes, players— Stick men. Okay, we were talking about the box men; now, the box men are the one that watch the stick men. And the dealers, too. What’s the difference between a stick man—? See, there’s a stick men out in front, and he calls the dice. The dealer’s on the other side—they pay off the bets. They take the bets and pay them off. And the box man’s the guy that’s sitting down in between? And he watches everything that’s going on. Okay. Baccarat, now, the dealers—that’s self-explanatory. Yes. He just calls the cars. UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 6 Dealers do the dealing, and the floormen do the watching. Right, okay. Then what’s the purpose of the floorman? I guess that would be your next step more or less? All right, the floormen, they watch the boxmen and the dealer, and in the twenty-one pit, they watch the dealers and the players. Okay, is this for purposes of, say, card counting, in the instance of a dealers? It consists of everything, not only on— And you also handle—? The players (unintelligible)—? Markers and what have— Yes, hand them a marker, want to make sure the dealers aren’t cheating, either. Are those cameras that everybody talks about, are those really operational? Oh, definitely. Absolutely? That’ll zero in and see the hair on a flea. (Laughs) Yeah, it’s got a telescope on it, it zeroes right in, zooms right in. Does it cover all the tables, or does it switch from table to table? You can zoom in on one table and cover the whole pit. Okay, and then the pit boss, is he the next step up then? Yes, he’s the one that’s in charge of the floormen, the dealers, and the box men. That’s basically a supervisor—? Yes. UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 7 Now we’re just getting into supervisors over supervisors. And it goes right on up and up and up. The farther up you go, the less they have to do. (Laughs) They just walk around and look cool. And then the shift boss—now, what are his—he just watches the pit boss? He, more or less, is in charge of credit, and in charge of the whole casino. Okay, but then you have credit managers also. Well, they’re in the office in the (unintelligible). They establish a bet— For any player that comes in? Yes. All right. Now, ahead of a particular game, like Bernie was over there in baccarat, as a for instance. Yes. Now what is their functioning? He’s in charge of that— That game? That game. Now what are his, or any head of any particular game, what are his duties as far as—? He oversees everybody. I understand that, but every now and then, I’ll hear a comment made about, “Oh, you know, we’re down, we gotta get back up,” and what have you, this sort of thing as far losing. They keep track of their winnings and losses— Oh, yes. Is this also part of their—? UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 8 They keep track of the winners and the losers. I even noticed in the twenty-one pits, as the shifts change for the bosses and the floormen and what have you, they always take a count. Take a count of everything you’re responsible for when your shift comes on. So, is it, for instance, you handle, say, two or four tables, whatever it is? Right. I have to take a count on those tables and be accountable for what we win or lose. Okay. So then you can basically tell if somebody’s come in and taken a marker out and walked off with the marker, as a for instance? Oh, sure. See who wins, who loses, any big winners or big losers. Or if, say, somebody took out a marker for $5,000 and yet the table was only up $100 so you know—or you could keep track, I guess. Oh, sure. Just whatever’s happening. What does the casino host do? Tries to entertain the preferred customer. As far as complimentary—? Complimentary dinners and drinks and shows—people want to go someplace else, to another hotel, makes reservations for them—gives them anything they want. Okay, he also—? He’s a host; that’s what he is, a host. What about, as a for instance—okay, so then a casino host can actually go out and solicit players to come in and—? Oh, definitely, that’s what his job is. He brings in players, too. Okay, he doesn’t just—he takes care of them when they’re here. UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 9 The ones that are in the hotel. Right. And the ones that he brings in, he’ll take care of them. Okay. So whenever a junket comes in, say, some players from Houston or whatever—? Right. This is part of his job. He might even arrange (unintelligible) junket—bring in seven or eight people, ten people, then he has to take care of them. Okay, and they usually pick up the plane fare there also and hotel rooms? Right. They better be good players. Now, is that something else that the pit bosses and floormen do—they rate players? (Unintelligible) all the way back down to the floorman. To keep track of—? To keep rating the player. To determine whether or not he’s worth comping, for instance. Right. Comping is a very big thing in Las Vegas—comp the room, the food and beverage, then they get their airfare, too. Yes. But that depends on the rating the player’s been given. Right. Okay, now the casino manager—? Everyone can go right up to him—he’s in charge of everybody that we just mentioned. Hosts also? That’s right. UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 10 Are answerable to him? That’s right. Credit managers, everybody. Everybody’s gotta be accountable to the casino manager. Okay. Is there anybody above the casino manager as far as any operations of the casino itself? They got a title now called casino operations—casino manager has to answer to him. Is this a new title? No. No? It’s come up in the last few years though. Oh, I see. Now they have casino operation, which includes slots and everything else. That’s another thing I wanted to ask you. Do they differentiate between casino operations and, say, the hotels operations itself as far as, you know, the hotel—? Hotel is separate. Okay, so that’s totally—any of your gift shops and what have you, those are usually—? They’re all—that comes under the hotel facilities. (Unintelligible) has nothing to do with it. So any of your casino positions don’t fall over into the—? Don’t even know nothing about them. All right. Do any of the other executives, in this case, say, like, Mr. (Unintelligible), or prior to that, Aleo Lewis, they weren’t, they’re not casino managers—they are presidents or vice presidents? UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 11 Yes, well, they tell the casino manager what to do if they want to. Again, they’re just overseeing and making sure— Right. Now, they’re in charge, like you said, of the hotel and everything—the whole operation. So they’re top of every—all right, I got it. Now, since you first came here in, say, ’51, other than just normal growth of a city, especially one with the industry we have here, are there any other sizeable changes or differences that you’ve noticed over the years? Oh, sure. The whole town has grown. It’s a metropolitan town now. How about as far as—? We didn’t have no stores, no big shopping centers; now, they’re all over town. What about casino-wise, with the operations? Has anything changed? Still pay the same (unintelligible). (Laughs) I knew you were gonna be smart, Tony. (Unintelligible) No, I understand what you— Casino operation has never changed. The gambling part of it never changed. Method of operation has changed. How about, now, back in the fifties and the sixties and what have you, I think Vegas at that time was pretty well—the casinos, weren’t they more privately owned or by, say, shareholders as compared to a corporation such as MGM and what have you? The private parties (unintelligible) one or two persons—they were the bosses, they were the owners. UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 12 All right. In a situation like that, now that the corporations have come in, do you feel that there is a noticeable difference between the way private ownership casinos handle their dealings with the customers and what have you than the corporations? Everybody—it’s all done by computers now. Well, other than that—I’m talking about sort of an attitude of the casino. In other words, okay, the Aladdin at this point is up in the air, but prior to that, and possibly now, it’s— Well, let’s just classify it this way. Let’s say that today, the gambling business is like a factor, like building cars. Four years ago, you could build one car. Now you’re just shooting them out as fast as you can get them. Now it’s like a factory, with personnel and the whole works. ‘Cause I know, just as a personal note, that I prefer gambling here because I feel it’s more personal. I can talk to the dealers, the floormen, what have you—I know everybody. I walk into the MGM, if a dealer so much as says hello to me, you know, he’s got the floorman and the pit boss standing down his back. Well, by the same token, now the people that do the same thing, they go in the MGM, they (unintelligible) come here, and they feel like strangers. It just, I don’t know. I’ve over heard a lot of players talk about how they don’t like that corporate atmosphere. Players at the Hilton or players at the, oh, say now the Desert Inn, which is part of Summa Corporation, the MGM—they would rather play, up until now at least, at the Tropicana, the Dunes, the Aladdin, more of, again, your smaller casinos in one way, but they feel like they have more of a personal touch, and they can relate and talk to the people involved. (Unintelligible). UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 13 You don’t agree with that? No, because everybody’s got a certain place they like to go and play. So it’s just a matter of personal preference? That’s what the whole thing is right there: personal preference. Okay. Now, as far as the gaming commission and the Gaming Control Board, exactly what do they do? They govern (unintelligible). Okay, they make sure—? They try and keep it all clean. All right, qualify the buyers, investigate them. The best they can. And do they have any relationship to taxes? Do they have anything to do with the IRS as far as investigating? No, that’s government. This is all state-owned. Okay. So they just want to make sure who’s here and who’s coming in or going out or whatever. Okay, now, I know you’re familiar with this one, especially the situation they have here. Normally, when a new buyer or, say, a new casino manager, somebody in an executive position comes in and takes over a casino or a new position in the corporation, what effect does it normally have on the operation, the employees? Well, let’s start right from the top. When a new operation comes in, a new owner comes in, he brings his own people in to run it. And without any doubt (unintelligible) their top executives in, they bring other people in with them. They want people working for them that they know. So, UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 14 it’s (unintelligible) when a new operation is taking over, everybody will be losing their job—the majority of the people. Would you say this would be limited to the majority of people in, say, a supervisory position, or would it go all the way down to the dealers? It could go all the way down to the dealer. So, it’s really basically a very political thing. That’s right. They want their own troops in there. That’s right. That’s what it amounts to. So then, in relationship to that, you can say that a person starting off in the industry who has connections in the sense that he knows somebody who’s an executive or what have you, his connections, or his juice as they say, could be relevant to his progress in the industry? He might wind up with a better job. Like right now—? Not because he knows anymore—he might not know (unintelligible). I know I met a lot of dealers that are out of work. They have years of experience, and yet as a, for instance over at Caesars, three or four months ago, they got through hiring, I think, like fifty new dealers in twenty-one alone for the expansion, and they hired all new people, completely new—no experience—right out of dealing school. Not the dealers that—they have no dealing union, right? No, there’s no union—something they should’ve had many years ago. So really the only unions they have is, like, the culinary and—? UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 15 Everything is union except the dealers—everything—security guard, hotel clerk—everything’s all union. But the dealers. Did they ever try at any time to do that? Oh, yes, a lot of times. What happened that it didn’t take place? It just fell through—they couldn’t get back (unintelligible). They’ve had votes on it, and the dealers voted it out. Oh, so the dealers didn’t want it then? Yes, at the time that they voted. I mean, not the majority of them. Yes, at the time they voted, they just voted it out. How long ago was the last attempt, do you remember? Couple years ago at the Frontier. Oh, now is this done by casino, or was it the Frontier that tried to get everybody together? No, the hotels don’t want the union; they were opposed to it. But they got together there at the Frontier. Oh, I see. They just at the meeting there. Yes. Okay. That was the last one, I think. And that’s been a couple years ago. So, all in all, how do you feel about the gaming industry? Do you enjoy it, or it’s just another job? Been a good livelihood for me. UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 16 Do you gamble yourself? No. I don’t play. You know better. (Laughs) But as far as benefits and what have you, is it an exciting job? Yeah, it’s all I know—can’t go do anything else, ‘cause I don’t know nothing else. How old were you when you came? Twenty years old, twenty-one years old. So you really never had experience, and this is your education? Everything else I’ve done was just—yeah, this is all I’ve done all my life. Where do you plan to go from here as far as future goals, or? I don’t know. Just gonna hang in for a while? I don’t know, I was thinking about investigating Atlantic City. I have no idea—just hanging in there (unintelligible) day to day. Do you have any desire to go back East? I don’t know, all depends on the job situation. A couple of the people I talked to considered going back east. Yes, there’s a lot of them going back. I talked to a lot of them going back. Is that mainly in this hotel, or is that—? No, that’s all over. That’s probably universal. It’s all over. From Reno to Lake Tahoe. Las Vegas— And then with Florida and New York maybe opening up and (unintelligible)—? UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 17 It’s going to be a big thing. There’s going to be gambling in other states; there’s no doubt about it. Yes, it’s just a matter of time. Do you think if they opened casinos—now, Atlantic City hasn’t really had anything, any harmful effect on Vegas businesswise? Not yet, they just started. But let’s say if Florida opens up, and New York—is that gonna really put a damper on Vegas? I think Atlantic City will, starting out with Atlantic City in a few years (unintelligible). Well, they say seventy-five, eighty percent of Vegas’s business is from Southern California; is that accurate? That ain’t big enough. The biggest players we get are from the East Coast. So, the nickel-and-dimers the Vegas, or the Southern California people. California, that’s right. And the players come from—? If they had to depend on California to survive, forget it. They couldn’t build these high rises on these two-dollar bets. Yes, I’ve seen a lot of that. (Laughs) Okay, Tony, well, I want to thank you for your time. [Audio cuts out] The interview with Mr. Grasso was somewhat difficult in that I had to talk to him in the coffee shop of the Aladdin during his lunch break, and I am aware that the interview did not fulfill the time requirement of one hour. However, I felt that what Mr. Grasso had to say was certainly relevant to the gaming industry here in Las Vegas. I will be supplementing this interview another one: one with a Mr. Doug Charles, who is also UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 18 currently employed by the Aladdin Hotel, but as a twenty-one dealer. In addition to dealing blackjack, he also sells real estate, so I intend to supplement those comments made by Mr. Grasso in relationship to the gaming industry with those comments of Mr. Charles, and also add to it some notes as to the physical and population growth in Las Vegas in over, say, the past twenty years. I would like to add one personal observation, and that is that trying to fulfill the one-hour time requirement for an interview is not as easy as it seems, but I’ll try my best. Okay, I’m now talking to Doug Charles in his home. Doug, when were you born? June 9th, 1954. And where were you born? Brooklyn, New York. And your nationality? Syrian. Okay, during your lifetime, where have you lived? Well, I left New York when I was three years old; I’ve been here ever since. And ’72 is the only time I really ever left town. I worked construction in Fairbanks, Alaska for about six months. Besides that, I’ve been here since I was three years old. Okay. So you came to Vegas, then, in? ’57. Okay. What family came with you? Well, my father came out first, and he sent for me, my brother, and my mother about three months later. Was he working in one of the casinos? UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 19 Started working at the old El Rancho casino? It’s right across the street from the Sahara Hotel, that big empty lot used to be the old El Rancho. Oh, the one between the (unintelligible) and Sahara, that empty lot? Yes. Okay. So, what was he doing? For the first ten, fifteen, years when he was in town, all my father ever did was a waiter and a captain showrooms—mainly Caesars Palace, captain there for several years. After that, he started bringing junkets in out of New York, Chicago, whole East Coast, really. He would bring them into the Tropicana for several years. So, basically a casino host, in a sense? Yes, brings in VIPs, high rollers, type situation. Did your mother work at all? No, she never worked. Okay. What kind of education did you have? I went two years to UNLV for hotel administration and never finished it. Okay. And you have, of course, your high school education? Graduated here from Clark High School. All right. And did you have to go to dealing with school? I went to dealing school for two days, strictly as a formality, and then the day I turned twenty-one, I started working at the Golden Nugget Downtown. Was that where most dealers started, Downtown? UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 20 Downtown, North Las Vegas, Henderson—little grind joints. I was lucky; I started in a fairly decent spot. The Nugget has always been a good break-in place. At the time I was working there, they had single, double, shoe, (unintelligible), and money wasn’t really bad for a break-in. Did you ever work for (unintelligible)? Yes, I broke in (unintelligible) at the Golden Nugget, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I went to the Aladdin—I stopped dealing ‘cause we had fanatic called Nate Glasswood as a boss, and he had a—his pit hobby was firing the wheel dealers. When I found that out, I told him I didn’t know how to deal the wheel. (Laughs) Okay, how long have you been at the Aladdin? Four years. Okay. So, what made you decide to go into the gaming industry? Well, money, I guess, is part of it. It’s a decent-paying job if you get into a good joint, but second, it’s about the only thing I’ve ever known or endured. Like I said, I’ve always been around gaming. My father was not only a junket man; he’s also a gambler, always has been, always will be. I started playing in casinos myself when I was fourteen years old. That’s why I didn’t have to go to school; I knew cards, I knew chips, I knew the games. How would you describe Las Vegas at your earliest recollection? Oh, it used to be so small. I remember the joints being family joints. You used to walk in and (unintelligible) few scattered places, really. I’m talking about five, six, seven, eight years old, but I do remember it. The size of each one would stagger the imagination what they were twenty years ago to what they are today. UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 21 Okay, now, when you first remember it, was—Tony Grasso had mentioned that, when he first came here, Downtown was all there was when he came. Had the Strip developed at all when you started? No, I can’t remember Downtown too much in my early years, mainly because we didn’t go down there. Like I said, my father worked at the El Rancho on the Strip, right on the corner of the Strip, which was one of the number one joints in town at the time. I hung out there quite a bit as a kid, and the Silver Slipper used to be a big joint in town. Look at it today; it’s one of the smallest in town. In them days, it was one of the number one spots. Tropicana at that time was called the Tiffany of the Strip; it was no bigger than the Silver Slipper. And then also I guess the Desert Inn? Desert Inn was probably one of the most high class places in town. When did the Hacienda—was that also? Hacienda goes back quite a few years, but I really can’t remember (unintelligible). So basically, at that time, the Strip consisted of the El Rancho, the Silver Slipper, DI? The Sahara was there, Flamingo, the old Flamingo, forget Caesars, forget the MGM—the Dunes had just started in the mid-fifties. The Aladdin wasn’t there; the Aladdin was just a little motel at the time without gaming. I remember hearing that. So what else is on the Strip now, the Stardust, Frontier, or was that all later? The Frontier, no; Frontier was not there, but much later on the Stardust was there, was a small joint. Riviera? Riviera got started, I’d say, probably Riviera, I’m guessing ’57, ’58, the Riviera (unintelligible). UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 22 Okay. So what casinos have you worked in then? I broke in to Golden Nugget; I worked there for the six months to get the experience I needed to go to the Aladdin. Doing what? Dealing twenty-one and the wheel both at the Golden Nugget. When I went to the Aladdin, I dealt the wheel for a while, but like I said, I stopped it (unintelligible) twenty-one. Okay, do you recall any particularly outstanding events that have happened in your dealing career? My dealing career—the only thing is, is concerning money. I’ve dealt to guys that I’ve seen win a quarter of a million dollars in one night, and I’ve seen guys lose a quarter of a million dollars in one evening. But you speak of one night, you speak of an eight-hour period, six, eight hours, quarter of a million. One cowboy that used to come in from Texas was a lawyer—he’d walk in the door with his business suit on and briefcase and go up to his room and come down with the dirtiest, ugliest Levi’s you could imagine. His cowboy hat, his shit-kicking boots on, and he’d come down screaming and yelling—used to stand up on the tables and chairs and take his hat off and yell, “Yee-haw.” There’s a man that was capable of winning or losing a quarter of a million dollars in one evening’s play. His name wasn’t (unintelligible), was it? It—it might have been, I really can’t remember. (Laughs) Okay, how about any controversies or scandals like they’re going through now at the Aladdin as far as—? For the last couple years, there wasn’t as much worry about gangsters and mob control in the casinos. See, the mob built this town—a lot of people don’t like to admit that, but they did. UNLV University Libraries Tony Grasso and Doug Charles 23 Twenty years ago, the big corporations, the big businesses, they didn’t want anything to do with Vegas. It was too risky. It was shady. So, twenty years ago, when every joint in town was, one way or another, helped contributed, or something money-wise by the mob. They built Vegas in my opinion. And now that the town is big, and everybody knows it’s a big money operation, they try to push them all out and put the legitimate groups in, which, in my opinion, I don’t like. It seems, if you listen to the news nowadays, you hear about all the—last week, they had three or four bank robberies during the week and what have you, the murder rates are up over the past two years. Twenty years ago, you wouldn’t have had that. Exactly. Like I said, twenty, twenty-five years ago—even fifteen years ago, this town was what was considered a neutral town to the mob. It was a meeting place for—they wanted no trouble here, no murders, no robberies, no nothing. This used to be one of the lowest crime rates, cities in the world, because people were afraid—if the cops didn’t get you, the mob would. They didn’t want any trouble in this town whatsoever. And in my opinion, if they had left them alone, this town would still be the same way—be crime-free. They’d have plenty of money in their pocket to do their operations elsewhere, but Vegas would still have been a neutral town. I miss it; I really do. They didn’t care about people making money in these big corpora—big corporation, now, see, everything’s gotta make money. The bar’s gotta make money