Sharon Walker oral history interview, 2014 November 08. OH-02168. [Audio recording]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. http://n2t.net/ark:/62930/d1qj7bp8h
Standardized Rights Statement
Is your father the oldest of all of them? Yes. My dad was like the matriarch. That's why they always came to my house, our house after they all retired and would kibitz and yell and scream. My dad would just sit there. He was very quiet, my father. Interesting. What's the story about how he and everybody got to Las Vegas? So Toledo was like neutral ground between Chicago and Detroit from gambling. There was a lot of illegal gambling there. Steubenville; Toledo; Hot Springs, Arkansas?a lot of the bosses were from one of those areas?Cleveland. I mean when my father married my mother, she was very straight. When they had my brother, it was like, okay, enough of that, because my father had a tire store that was four floors of gambling upstairs. Was that back in? In Toledo, yes. There's a book called Unholy Toledo that has a lot of this documented. I'll have to look that up. That's interesting. They were all very familiar. Like I said, they had to make their own way, so they used to do numbers. Numbers is like the lottery nowadays. During the Depression, people would spend their last dollar trying to make it right and trying to get rich. They never did anything really illegal per se. So that's where it was. When my brother was born, my mother said, ?Enough of that.? So he opened like a Service Merchandise with one of everything on the floor and you send down for whatever you want. He had toys and sporting goods and cooking items, pots and pans, a little of everything, jewelry. But his main thrust was cigarettes, cigars, tobacco and candy. I found out later?I never connected it all?but my uncle Paddock, Lou, and some of his friends, Chalky Red, all these gangster guys, had vending machines in Ohio and around the Midwest, Detroit and all that. It was all cash business, washing machines and vending machines. Later in life I realized, yes, well, my dad was probably supplying the cigarettes and the candy to the vending machines, and so that was his connection. Then my uncles moved out here. My one uncle moved up to?he was involved in CalNeva, which is up at Lake Tahoe. My one uncle, E, was very active up there in the fifties. So one by one they all started moving out here. My uncle Lou moved here and was involved in the Fremont. He was good friends with some pretty big guys, so he couldn't get his gaming license. Like who? Can you mention that? Yes. Moe Dalitz and?Moe is one of his dear friends. A funny story. When he was at the Fremont, Benny Binion was serving time in [Leavenworth]. It was a big prison, one of the old famous prisons. They couldn't get Benny on murder, so they got him on tax evasion. So Benny called my uncle up and said, ?Hey, I need you to sell your points??they used to be called points??in the Fremont.? He called my uncle and said, ?I need you to sell your points in the Fremont and go over and train Jack at the Horseshoe. He doesn't know the business and I need you there.? So that's what he did and he trained Jack Binion in the business. I knew Benny. He used to come around the apartment building when I was a kid where we lived. Dobie Doc, his good friend, drove a white Rolls Royce named Becky, after Becky Binion, and he had ?Becky? on the license plates. They used to come and visit an oil tycoon there; Hank Williams was his name. He was married to a young showgirl. They had little kids. The Diplomat is still there over on Paradise. Wow, that's fascinating. Then my aunt moved out here. She had two children. She probably came in the early sixties. And my father was very close with his family. He really missed his brothers. He sold his business in Ohio, in Toledo, this like the service merchandise business, and he was retired in his early fifties and he loved to play golf. Golf was his passion and he couldn't play golf in the winter there. And he didn't have any hobbies. Jackie Gaughan bought the El Cortez from the Houssels years ago. So Jackie and my uncle E were very close. My dad told my uncle, ?Look for something for me.? So when Jackie bought the Cortez, my dad bought in with him and they were partners and we moved out here. My mom hated it. She didn't like it at all for years. What year would that have been that you moved here? That was '63. I think I wrote '62 on here. I think it was '63. So '63, okay. How many siblings did you have? So she packed up the family and she's reluctant about moving here, right? Right. Totally. She was very straight. She didn't like the Mafioso. In those days, Vegas was all about Mafioso.