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.
License to Steal: Nevada's Gaming Control System in the Megaresort Ageby Jeff Burbank
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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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.
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