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 […]
Nevada Gaming Control Board
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.
1955-1966 Harry Chon, licensed operator of the gambling operations at the Old Cathay Club* in Reno, Nevada, found himself in an uncomfortable spot, under pressure from two parties, in 1956. The story begins about a year earlier, when two other men, Horace Fong and his godfather, Moon Wah, applied unsuccessfully for a gambling license for the same property. Of the two, only Wah had casino experience, and he’d been convicted recently of tax evasion in California. Soon after, Fong re-applied — this time with Chon named as the co-licensee — but to no avail because the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) deemed Fong unsuitable, likely due to his relationship with Wah. Then Chon alone sought and was granted a gambling license to lease space from Fong and run a casino in it. Fong operated the other entities on the property, a restaurant and bar. Rumblings Then Temblor In spring 1957, the NGCB heard rumors that individuals other than Chon were running the gambling at the Old Cathay. It was verboten to change casino interests without approval first from gaming regulators, so agents investigated. Chon confided in them he’d hired a man named Fred Down to manage the casino, but Down […]