Since its creation in 1960, Nevada’s notorious Black Book has struck fear into the hearts of crime figures around the country. Put simply, this book was an effort to keep organized crime away from the casino industry at all costs. If a gangster found himself on this list, it became a crime to step foot inside of any casino in Las Vegas, and, since it was also a crime for casinos to fail to report a banned gambler inside of the casino, it spelled immediate excommunication for the baddest of the bad. Now that you know the basics, let’s take a closer look at the Famous Las Vegas Black Book.
An Industry Safety Net
When organized crime rose to power within the United States, politicians feared that it would have a significant impact on the gambling industry. In order to avoid this perceived eventuality, the Black Book was created. The original list included eleven individuals who were known to have a “notorious and unsavory reputation which would adversely affect public confidence and trust that the gaming industry was free from criminal or corruptive elements.” If this method didn’t work, congress planned to eliminate the industry completely through the introduction of high taxes. Luckily for gambling enthusiasts, this didn’t come to pass.
A Punishment for a Crime
If a gambler is placed within the pages of the Black Book, his or her career in the gambling industry comes to an immediate and permanent halt. Once listed, these unsavory characters can face a gross misdemeanor charge if caught entering a restricted gaming establishment. For casino operators, black book members can face fines and severe licensing problems if they refuse to report gambling activity.
A Notorious Roster
Since its introduction in 1960, the Black Book has served as a who’s who of Vegas’s most infamous figures. From suspected mob leaders, such as Marshall Caifano, to cheaters, such as John Vaccaro, the list has historically included a collection of figures who had a negative impact on the industry. In total, the list has included over 50 individuals, with 33 remaining in the book to this day. In January, the state’s gaming regulators unanimously approved the addition of Tasia Musa, marking the latest addition to the list.
The Black Book has faced a fair share of legal pushback since its establishment. Despite being challenged numerous times in both state and federal courts, the list has survived to this day. Former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman is currently leading another push to eliminate the book based on its allegedly unconstitutional premise, but, to this point, his efforts have had minimal effectiveness.
The Las Vegas Black Book has an undeniable place in the story of Sin City. For those in the mob or with less than legal gaming strategies, the list has remained a cause for concern for over five decades, and, despite continued efforts, in appears unlikely to disappear in the near future. While Nicky Santoro from famous gambling flick Casino may have insisted that the black book was a joke, there’s little doubt about the overall effectiveness it has had in insulating the industry from corruption up to this point.