License to Steal: Nevada's Gaming Control System in the Megaresort Age

Overview

Murder, the Mob, prostitution, drugs, innovative (but illegal) financial dealings, and the brilliant use of technology for ill-gotten gain, all have been involved in the schemes of unscrupulous casino owners, employees, and gamblers throughout the decades of legal gambling. Gaming in Nevada is more stringently controlled than anywhere else in the United States, and in License to Steal, investigative reporter and editor Jeff Burbank provides a lively and highly readable case history account of some of the most ...
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Overview

Murder, the Mob, prostitution, drugs, innovative (but illegal) financial dealings, and the brilliant use of technology for ill-gotten gain, all have been involved in the schemes of unscrupulous casino owners, employees, and gamblers throughout the decades of legal gambling. Gaming in Nevada is more stringently controlled than anywhere else in the United States, and in License to Steal, investigative reporter and editor Jeff Burbank provides a lively and highly readable case history account of some of the most significant and most fascinating cases adjudicated by the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Commission during a pivotal time for the growing gaming industry.

It is the responsibility of these two agencies to review the licensing of new and established casinos, investigate reports of suspected wrongdoing, and punish those found guilty. In providing a balanced and objective yet very entertaining account of these sometimes complex cases, Jeff Burbank uses legal documents, meeting transcripts, insider interviews, and contemporary newspaper reports. The book is enhanced by the author's lively and informative recent interviews with key figures in gaming regulation, past and present.

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What People Are Saying

I. Nelson Rose
I. Nelson Rose, author of Gambling and the Law

License to Steal is the first ever, detailed examination of the regulation, and occasional non-regulation, of licensed gambling in Nevada. Jeff Burbank looks at the world with the eye of an experienced journalist: he presents concrete facts, not speculation or opinions. A good thing, because many of the stories he relates would be rejected as completely implausible if presented as fiction: the forger who did not know how to spell the name of his life-long friend, or the casino owner who threw parties with swastika-covered birthday cakes on Hitler's birthday. Burbank's straight presentation of the facts behind the ruling paints a complete picture of how the system really works.

Nicholas Pileggi
Nicholas Pileggi, author of Wise Guy and Casino

It's a fascinating book. Rich in story and the kind of historic detail one hears from casino professionals at the end of a long night. In using the state's gaming control institutions to tell the story of Las Vegas, however, Jeff Burbank gets the truth and from the sources and people who can document what happened. For fans of Las Vegas, and I am one, start reading and you can't stop.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874173390
  • Publisher: University of Nevada Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2000
  • Series: Gambling Studies Series
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,458,741
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi
Preface xiii
Introduction: An Overview of Gambling in Nevada, 1861 to 1999 1
Chapter 1 Cheating and Murder: The American Coin Caper 35
Chapter 2 To Ralphie from Adolph: Ralph Engelstad and the War Room at the Imperial Palace 55
Chapter 3 Who's Minding the Casino Cage? Joe Slyman and Regulation 6A 80
Chapter 4 Near Miss: The Rise and Fall of Slot Machine Innovator Universal Distributing of Nevada 104
Chapter 5 Casino Politics: The Gaming Board vs. Sheldon Adelson and the Las Vegas Sands 128
Chapter 6 Fixed Odds and Wise Guys: The Sport of Kings 156
Chapter 7 A Cheater in Our Midst: Gaming Board Computer Whiz Ron Harris Beats the System 187
Chapter 8 Profiles of Nevada State Gaming Control Board and Nevada Gaming Commission Members 207
Appendix 1 Organizational Structure of the Nevada State Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission 223
Appendix 2 Budget for the Nevada Gaming Commission and the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, Fiscal Years 1997-1999 227
Notes 233
Selected Bibliography 249
Index 251
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