Dice Scam at the Dunes Hotel in 1967, on Friday the 13th.

Dice Scam at the Dunes Hotel in 1967.
Here is one out of my notebook for you.
This happened at the Dunes Hotel on Friday the 13th. hahah.
This story appeared only once.
In the story, $500,000 was lost in the play. This amounts to over $3,500,000 in today’s dollars, based on the use of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States government.
I don’t think this method was ever tipped in any books or videos previously, but i may be mistaken.
I have reason to believe that the device is still out there……


Debbie Reynolds & the Card on Ceiling

Shar Wilson introduced me to her very dear friend, . Shar and Debbie worked together many times.

I had the privilege of being invited to perform at Debbie’s intimate show lounge one afternoon. She was very, very nice and a fellow Burbank High student. When I threw a pack of cards (difficult with a 45 ft. ceiling) on her hand-painted ornate, inlaid domed ceiling with the spectator’s card sticking to the ceiling, she said in a joking manner, “You have ruined my $50,000 work of art!l” I have a wonderful memento of that day and I always think of Debbie when I perform the effect. We will all miss Debbie Reynolds, and her daughter. Respectfully, Geno


The True Story of Las Vegas….Episode: Thieves robbed the Mob

In the early days of the Desert Inn Hotel and Casino the outside scam artists, that is the guys and gals off the streets and not the owners in the tradition of a skim, beat the Desert Inn in a remarkable bold move that was based on a fake or altered drop box. A drop box is where the cash is deposited after a customer walks up and buys casino chips from the dealer. Every casino game has a drop box where the currency is deposited for safe keeping.
Before the shift ends, and this happens three times a day, the new empty drop boxes are put out to be changed for boxes that are full of cash. This is done so that the currency is promptly put into the casino cage and infiltrated into the accounting policy of the casino, rather than let the cash just sit there for 24 hours a day. Imagine how much interest is lost on cash just sitting in a box for 24 or 48 hours.

Some slick bold scam artist got a hold of a drop box and created a cardboard (or some other material) side that was painted to look like it was a piece of metal. The box looked identical to a regular box, however it had a side that could be opened and the cash could be taken out without drawing any suspicion. When the boxes were being put out, the team found various spots were they could switch the boxes without detection. They did this on New Year’s Eve, wherein there was a lot of business and plenty of misdirection. Every blackjack table has the drop box close to where the player sits, and this location is not exact, but varies according to the table manufacturer. In the case of the Desert Inn, the drop box was conveniently close to the player setting in a position called third base. Third base would be to the dealer’s right, unlike baseball, if you were standing at home plate, third base would be on your left. Why it is called third base, I am not sure, but it is. It was really pretty easy for a player that had a beautiful lady next to him distract the dealer and floo
rman just enough for the dirty work to be completed.

The thieves picked out New Year’s Eve to pull off the scam and they worked from table to table getting as much cash as possible without getting caught. The boxes were able to be closed after the money was taken so no one got wise to the bold scam until the boxes were taken off the table. Who knows, maybe they had a dealer or two that was in with the scam?
When the owners found out what happened, they put the word out real quickly that these people, if caught, wouldn’t see their next New Year’s Eve. They were never caught, and I don’t believe this story was ever published anywhere


Nevada’s Gaming Laws: Constitutional?

Ash Resnick marked in red.

Nevada’s Gaming Laws: Constitutional?   A look at Ash Resnick By Mike Ross(Las Vegas)

For years the Nevada Gaming commission and the Nevada Gaming Control Board have made decisions on individuals on whether they can participate in Nevada Gaming. The rules that determine the finding of suitability are specifically written in Nevada Revised Statues 463. Longtime casino executive Irving Ash Resnick challenged the Nevada authorities is his quest to be licensed as a casino operator. In his request to be licensed at the Dunes Hotel, Resnick asked to look at the secret file that the NGCB was basing their position of denying him a license.

In 1984, the State Gaming Commission determined that Resnick was an employee who exercised significant influence over the operation of the Dunes Hotel and Casino and ordered him to apply for a license. In May 1986, Resnick was informed that his public hearing with the State Gaming Board would be held in July 1986. He then filed a petition with the Commission, asking it to compel the Board to provide him with a copy of the investigative report the Board had prepared, or at least provide him with a hearing on the issue of whether he should be granted discovery of the report. These requests were denied by the Commission, which issued an order to that effect. Resnick then filed a petition to review the Commission’s order denying discovery with the district court, together with a complaint for declaratory judgment. Resnick sought (1) an order reversing the Commission’s decision that it would not compel the Board to provide Resnick with a copy of the report, and (2) a declaratory judgment construing NRS 463.313(1)(b) to permit pre-hearing discovery by Resnick of the Board’s investigative mate-rials. The court held that it lacked jurisdiction to provide the relief requested.

Resnick now appeals the lower court’s decision. Nevada law requires the courts to play a limited role in gaming license decisions by the Commission and Board. For example, in Gaming Control Bd. v. District Ct., 82 Nev. 38, 40, 409 P.2d 974, 975 (1966), “The State Constitu-tion, art. 6, § 6, does not authorize court intrusion into the … licensing … of gaming.” And in State of Nevada v. Rosenthal, 93 Nev. 36, 41, 559 P.2d 830, 834 (1977), ju-dicial review of the Commission’s final orders and decisions was appropriate “only in specified in-stances.” Despite this general principle of non-intervention, Resnick asserts that the lower court had jurisdiction to consider and reverse the Commission’s order. The Nevada Supreme Court wrote this opinion: “Finally, to hold that the district court had jurisdiction under NRS 463.315 to consider and reverse the Com-mission order would be contrary to our holding in George v. Nevada Gaming Comm’n, 86 Nev. 374, 468 P.2d 995 (1970). In George, the Board recommended denying an applicant a license.

Before the Commission hearing, the applicant petitioned the district court for a writ of mandamus compelling the Commission to order the Board to supply George with all materials the Board had obtained about George’s background. The district court, however, held that it did not have jurisdiction to issue the writ. We affirmed the lower court’s decision, suggesting that the licensing procedure was normally beyond the scrutiny of the courts.”  “Although Resnick is not requesting equitable relief as George did, the end Resnick seeks is the same sought by George. George sought an equitable order compelling the Commission to order the Board to provide materials; Resnick seeks to compel the Commission to order the Board to produce certain materials. The legislature, however, did not intend judicial intervention in such matters. Therefore, the lower court correctly determined that it did not *232 have jurisdiction, under NRS 463.315, to consider the Commission’s ruling.”

“Resnick also asked the lower court, under NRS 463.343,[6] to interpret NRS 463.313(1) to allow prehearing discovery of investigative reports. However, NRS  463.313 (1) does not permit discovery of the report. It provides: At all hearings before the commission other than investigative hearings: … . (b) Every party has the right to: (1) Call and examine witnesses; (2) Introduce exhibits relevant to the issues of the case, including the transcript of testimony at any investigative hearing conducted by or on behalf of the board or the commission; (3) Cross-examine opposing witnesses on any matters relevant to the issues of the case, even though the matter was not covered in a direct examination; (4) Impeach any witness regardless of which party first called him to testify; and (5) Offer rebuttal evidence.” “Resnick argues that in order to fully exercise these rights, he must have access to the report. He contends that the procedural safeguards of NRS 463.313(1) are attenuated unless an applicant has access to the materials that would help him fully exercise these rights. He concludes, therefore, that NRS 463.313 must be interpreted to allow pre-hearing discovery.” The Nevada Supreme Court wrote: “Resnick’s argument is flawed in several respects. First, he incorrectly assumes that because he has the right to cross-examine a witness, he has a right of access to all materials which would assist him in this cross-examination. This logical leap, in our opinion, simply is not justified. Second, Resnick assumes that the safeguards provided by the legislature in NRS 463.313 are not adequate. We disagree. Although an applicant does not have the right to discover the Board’s report, he does have other rights the right to call witnesses, offer evidence, cross-examine and impeach witnesses, and provide exhibits. Resnick has not shown that these protections inadequately protect an applicant’s rights.  And most importantly, if the legislature intended an applicant to have access to the Board’s report or to otherwise be entitled to conduct discovery, it could have so specified.[7] Therefore, Resnick’s argument that NRS 463.313 should be interpreted to allow pre-hearing discovery is without merit.” It appears as if Resnick and his very qualified attorney Gary Logan were up against a stacked deck. The Supreme Court in Nevada actually wrote that Resnick has no right to cross examine witnesses or examine the material that was used to build a case against him. The court views this request as “flawed”. Flawed?

In this society how can a simple request to rebut the witnesses against you be considered a flawed request? Mr. Resnick was denied due process of his rights under the constitution. Someday in the future the United States Supreme Court will accept one of these cases and get it right. The matter is not a state’s right to deny by redlining the rules to anyone.  Basic rights under the laws of one great country should be fair to all and not selective.. The Supreme Court in Nevada justifies their points by saying the Nevada Legislature did not write the law to allow cross examination.  Mr. Resnick may not be an angel.  FBI surveillance tapes recorded a conversation May 21, 1979 wherein several Chicago based mobsters were present. Ash Resnick’s name was mentioned.  DORFMAN: AllenDorfman, SPILOTRO: Anthony John Spilotro, LOMBARDO: JoeLombardo, and STRATE: Red Strate. DORFMAN: I don’t know anything about him. Not a thing.  An’ according to, you know, ASH RESNICK and according to, uh, uh, SORKIS WEBBE they say he’s absolutely,  the guy’s no fucking good. He’s as bad a guy you’d ever run into.  But that’s them, but I don’t know anything about him. Never met him, and, uh, don’t know where the hell he comes from. But, I know he was put in by the State. But if they don’t do something quick, they’re all gonna be down. He’s firing every-body out of the place. I mean really hurtin’.

The NGCB has used this precedence in many cases over many applicants that had cases or application to the Nevada authorities. One such case involved a former employee of the Dunes Hotel, when after getting terminated from the hotel, was followed, investigated, and developed a “jacket” on his name. The term jacket is a term that means the person is not a good person to hire because of suspicion of wrongdoing. The information that was supplied to the hotel management that fired this young man came from a suspected securities swindler and known scam artist. The swindler ‘s request of $4,000 in 1976, would be worth $17,000 today. This young man applied for a gaming license in Nevada in 1977 and was approved unanimously however because a courageous NGCB member, George Swarts, investigated the issue and remarked at the Gaming Commission meeting that the applicant was used as a “smoke screen” at the Dunes Hotel. The Nevada gambling industry wants all the casinos to give a fair shake to all the patrons and keep everything on the up and up, yet denies the basic tenant of prohibiting an accused to see or hear, or even understand what allegations are contained in a recommendation of denial or approval for an applicant or working gaming employee. It is their way or the highway. Sounds like the good old boy network still prevails in Nevada.


The Hop bet helps Dunes owners

Las Vegas, Nv.)  A “Hop Bet” saved six owners of the Dunes Hotel from getting convicted of skimming from the casino!  The average player probably doesn’t even know what a hop bet is. It is also known as a secret bet on the layout, similar to In-and-Out’s Secret Menu! A hop bet is a one roll bet wherein a player predicts the number of each separate die.  For instance, if I call “Two and three on the hop, I mean that one die will show a 2 and the other a 3.  Even though the total of the two dice is 5, I am not betting on a total of 5, which could also be rolled 4, 1, for instance.  If on the next roll 2-3 shows, I win.  If anything else comes up I lose.  Remember, it is a one roll bet, win or lose.

In 1971, six top officials, four of them owners, of the Dunes Hotel were indicted for skimming money from the gaming tables.  The investigators from the IRS and Justice Department had undercover agents watching the casino games in the Dunes Hotel and clocking how much money went into the drop box.  The government’s theory was that if they knew exactly how much money went into the sealed box on a dice table, they could compare the amount the casino declared, either winners or losers, on the particular game.  The drop box holds all of the cash and foreign casino chips that a person exchanges for the chips to play with.  The result whether winning or losing is determined by knowing what the opening bankroll is, then adding the cash in the drop box, and subtracting additional chips (fills) brought to the table and adding overflows (credits) sent back to the casino cage.

The IRS sent two undercover agents/players and possibly a third, to the crap tables at the Dunes Hotel to try to get accurate results of the cash actually dropped into the drop box. The IRS theorized that cash from the drop box would be the easiest way to skim or steal money off the top and not report it as earnings on the casino’s annual income tax form.

The Dunes’ attorneys were pretty clever and used a few simple casino bets to get the testimony of the agents stricken and the case dismissed.


The IRS undercover agents were asked what a “Hop Bet” was.  They could not answer the question.  They were asked what a “two way 11” was.  They could not answer.  They were asked what a sleeper bet was? They could not answer.  The defense argued if they were experts and could pinpoint how much money was dropped into the drop box, why didn’t they know the fundamentals of the game that existed, that weren’t written on the table or in the gaming guide furnished by the casino.  The judge agreed that they were not credible. The case was dismissed.


Sid Wyman hedges his bet

Legendary gambler, Sid Wyman hedges his bet on an opera singer, or was it good publicity?

In 1950, a tip from Governor Al Driscoll of New Jersey set off a raid that closed down a major “nerve center” of the National Crime Syndicate that was operated in St. Louis under the name of C.J. Rich and Co., owned by Sid Wyman and Charles Rich. It was a multi-million dollar operation that even employed a publicity man who went from state to state drawing up lists of prospective customers who received advertising letters how to use Western Union to telegraph the bets. Their advertising was catchy: “no transactions too large; none too small,” and claimed, “Our odds are the best in the country; we invite comparison.”

Wyman and Rich went on to become huge successful operators of the Dunes Hotel and Country Club, in Las Vegas, and used their great experience in gambling to accomplish this feat. Publicity, marketing, good food, great entertainment and good gambling was their key to buying business, so to say, at the Dunes Hotel.

They learned how to bring the players into their operation, and in one of their early endeavors of operating as partners in the Royal Nevada Hotel and Casino, in 1955, which was adjacent to the empty lot wherein the Stardust would be built in 1958, For the opening, they took out a $150,000 policy with Lloyds of London against the possibility of the opening opera singer, Helen Traubel, coming down with laryngitis, as did tenor Mario Lanza a week before. Lanza had a $100,000 two week engagement in the New Frontier’s newly million dollar Venus showroom, and could not make the curtain call. The press blasted the two week engagement, conducted by Ray Sinatra, with a headline that said, “Lanza can’t sing for his $50,000 a week”.
Helen Traubel was coincidentally from St. Louis, wherein Rich and Wyman were residents and that is where Charles J. Rich met his lifelong friend Cary Grant. Perhaps Cary Grant had some influence on their selection of Trauble? I am only surmising.

Sid Wyman, Royal Nevada managing director, said “we anticipate no trouble with Traubel but we think it is only good business to protect ourselves.” Sid was a smart bookmaker and knew that even a sure thing sometimes loses


Mob Boss Patriarca did not like “junk”

Geno Munari's photo.Geno Munari's photo.
Patriarca did not like “JUNK”.

Vincent Teresa worked under mafia boss Ray Patriarca, of New England. He wrote a book, My Life in the Mafia. Teresa eventually had to seek the protection of the Federal government and the Federal Witness Protection Program. Teresa’s testimony put a large number of the Patriarca crime family in jail. In his book, he explained how Patriarca was deathly against dealing in narcotics or junk.
It is alleged that Ray Patriarca was one of the first investors at the Dunes Hotel.
Teresa wrote, “There is nothing worse than dealing in narcotics as far as Patriarca was concerned. It was a rule that preceded him. None of the old Mafioso ever fooled around with it. For that reason, Patriarca always hated Vito Genovese and never trusted Joe Bonanno. They both dealt in junk. So did their mobs. ‘Never trust them,’ he told me. ‘Never trust the New Jersey or New York crew. They fool around with junk. Don’t you ever get involved with any of them that handles that stuff—understand?’ I understood. There was a kind of finality the way he said it. It impressed me.”
“The last thing you want in the mob is publicity. If you catch a bookie taking a number, everybody laughs about it: What are they bothering that poor guy for, they ask? The people figure everybody gambles, but when the cops catch a guy selling narcotics, the first thing they say in New England is “Skin him alive.’ ‘He is no good,’ ‘Throw him in the can.’ Then everyone is in the soup. Raymond didn’t want that nonsense.”
I wonder what the mob would have thought about the marijuana dispensaries springing up everywhere. I will bet that they would not approve for the same reasons, and I know many will disagree. I would say that the use of marijuana surely does not help a person get to the gambling tables, or aid their ability to play the casino games. Today with all the day spas in the various hotels, this behavior only encourages less time at the gambling tables and more interest in staying either drunk or high. One old timer used to say, “At least when a person drinks and gets drunk, he might get a hangover and lay off drinking for awhile. When a person gets high, he stays high. Nobody shows up for work.”


Do you know what a “Sub” is?

Do you know what a “Sub” is?

No, it is not a nickname for a delicious Italian Submarine sandwich like Santoro’s in Burbank sold. It is also not English slang for the subway. But when casino bosses hear the word sub, they might shudder.
Subs have been used in just about every gambling game to cheat the house. A sub is basically a cheating device made to fit on the body to assist a dealer in stealing casino chips. It is sort of a secret pouch that will accept chips from the dealer and conceal the chips from view. A sub can be worn in the pants, in a tie, in a shirt etc.
Gilbert Martinez made his living selling ties and aprons to the various casinos, unbeknown to them, he also made subs of every variety.
One style of sub had a stiff metal wire inside a dealers waistline. When the dealer pulled his gut in, the belt line would protrude, allowing the dealer to quickly pass chips into the secret pocket.
On one occasion at the Sahara Hotel, almost 40 years ago, casino bosses took a dealer off the crap table suspecting him of having a sub on his person. He confessed, and he had a little over $500 in $25 chips in his apron/sub. He had only been working on the table a little over 40 minutes. It was almost undetectable and cameras could not get the right angle to film the action. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I have ever seen a news report of anyone ever caught using one! (I may be wrong but would love to see one if anyone has a source)
Dealers on a dice crew would take turns, to who was “authorized” to wear the sub on their game and shift.
The slide sub is a way that the dealer can put a chip into his shirt pocket, as if accepting a tip from a player, then the chip will slide through a small tube into a sub located in the trousers.
The idea of making a secret pouch or compartment to hide casino chips is not exclusive to Las Vegas. The idea originally was an improvement of a dealer using the long tails of his shirt folded up and attached to his waistband, that worked essentially as a sub without all the fancy trimmings. In one sense it was much better because it was a sub that was just made from the shirt alone and required no extra pieces. If the dealer was caught in the act of stealing he could easily dump the chips down his pants leg, and there would be no cheating apparatus to find on his person. Use of a cheating device is a felony in Nevada



Geno Munari's photo.Geno Munari's photo.Geno Munari's photo.


There are those who are not going to believe this next item but, as the old saying goes, “If I am lying, I am dying”. The same man that made subs also came up with the saran wrap scam. As a boxman on the crap table, he would bring a small piece of saran wrap to the table and slowly cover the money slot, as if just playing with the bill paddle. He would lay the the saran wrap over the opening and slide the paddle into the slot pushing the saran wrap into the slot and forming an invisible pouch. An accomplice would come up to the game and buy in $5000 in cash. The boxman would count the money down and tell the dealer to give him $5500, giving him an extra $500 on the count. They would time this whole scene just before the shift change, when the confusion is the highest in the pit, and when it is time to pull the money paddle not allowing any more money going down after the table was counted by the oncoming shift. Incidentally for you historians, the place was called The Mint. It was eventually purchased by Benny Binion. When Benny Binion owned the Horseshoe, he could not acquire another gaming establishment without getting called into the Gaming Control Board for licensing, and he knew he would have a hard time getting a license with the agency that had control of gaming in Nevada at the time. So he simply bought the place which was adjacent to the Horseshoe, broke through the adjoining wall, and he had a 26 hotel with beautiful rooms. he did not need the Mint’s license to operate rooms, and basically added the rooms, food and beverage to his license that was much easier to obtain in the 1950’s.
Just before the count, the agent would buy in, and the money would be dropped into the money slot. Now with a large amount of cash, you don’t use the paddle to drop the money, rather you turn the money and force it down edgewise. The paddle would then be placed over the top of the slot, but not into the slot. This would help cover the saran wrap. This is done just after the money is counted, so the paddle indicates to the crew not to drop any more money on that shift.
The boxman simply gets up from the table quickly pulling the entire pouch from the slot, and putting it into his inside jacket pocket, in the act of straightening out his suit.
One time the pouch got stuck and the saran wrap was broken off into the money box. I wonder what the casino count team thought when they discovered saran wrap in the dropbox!
There was also a real good possibility that a member of the casino supervisory staff was also in with the play.