Las Vegas–Nevada

Quick Fact – Matrimonial Diss

1947 Hollywood actress Mildred Jenkins testified in court about her wedding night in Nevada. After marrying A.Q. Bonner, Jr., a Northern California rancher, the two had breakfast and went to a casino. “A.Q. lost all his money then insisted I give him mine because, he said, it belonged to both of us now,” she said. “When I repeatedly refused, he said I took the marriage too seriously and that he thought it was just a good gag” (Los Angeles Times, July 26, 1947). The judge granted Jenkins an annulment.

Gambling Junkets Cause International Discord

1974-1975 For many Japan-based businessmen, gambling trips to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas turned nightmarish. Kikumaru Okuda, 46, also a resident of the Land of the Rising Sun, and a film producer with Toho Film Company, organized numerous trips on behalf of the Nevada hotel-casino, at the request of its president, Harry Wald. Caesars Palace paid Okuda, who’d met all of Nevada’s requirements for junketeers, $3,000 ($15,000 today) a month for his services. The agreement with junket guests, which was typical, was that the resort would pay their airfare and hotel bills in exchange for them gambling a certain number of games while in Sin City. If they won, the casino would pay them in U.S. dollars on site. If they lost, the guests would pay in yen what they owed after returning to Japan. Illegal Collections In the case of a 32-year-old, Yokohama dry goods dealer, upon his return home, Okuda told him he owed $93,000 (about $455,000 today) and demanded payment. (It’s likely the man hadn’t known the size of his marker or how fast it had grown when he was in Vegas.) He refused to pay. Soon after, Okuda’s partners —Yoshihisa Kuroda, 45, and Manabu Nakajima, 40, both […]

Quick Fact – Detrimental Game of Chance

1956 The gambling licensees of the Dunes and Silver Slipper casinos applied to restart bingo on the premises, but the Nevada Gaming Commission denied their request, stating that the return of the game to the Las Vegas Strip would be detrimental to the area. This was because in prior years when bingo had been permitted, the competition had gotten out of hand and the ample prize money had drawn so many people, it had created traffic problems.

Mobsters Threaten Hollywood Filmmaker

1950 In late 1948, Hollywood movie producer, Frank N. Seltzer — known for the movies, Jungle Patrol and Let’s Live Again, which debuted that same year — began research for his next project, 711 Ocean Drive, starring Edmond O’Brien and Joanne Dru. He intended for it to expose the “bookie racket,” or “wire service as a new industry for the hoodlums who lost out through repeal” of Prohibition,” he said (Nevada State Journal, June 15, 1950). He planned to film in a handful of California and Nevada cities. However, Lieutenant William “Bill” Burns, with the Los Angeles Police Department, warned Seltzer he was “walking into a bear trap” in Las Vegas. In 1949, after the script was ready, someone from the public relations firm that represented the City of Las Vegas told Seltzer they could make available famous hotel-casinos on the Strip for filming. A separate hotel owner directly offered his property for the Sin City sequences. Further, a city councilman and Chamber of Commerce member assured the producer they’d cooperate fully with production. Obstruction, Harassment Begin Two months later, however, when production manager, Orville Fouse, went to Las Vegas, the hotel-casino owner who had offered his property for filming […]

Tango Game, Las Vegas, Nevada

1946 Some Las Vegas, Nevada casinos handed out women’s nylons as slot machine and tango game* prizes. When the city’s board of commissioners found out, they banned it, threatening repeat offenders with losing their gambling license. It wasn’t the hosiery the officials took offense to; it was the casinos offering merchandise to encourage the playing of traditional games of chance. “We are endeavoring to maintain gaming on a high plane and feel bound to discourage and eliminate any practice which may impugn the dignity of our gaming establishments,” they said (Nevada State Journal, Oct. 12, 1946). * Tango is similar to bingo and keno