Las Vegas, a region known for being the international hub of gambling, and many have put this region somewhere on their bucket lists. However, with so many people eventually experiencing the neon lights and the buzzing nightlife of this city and accessing some of the most exclusive nightclubs and casinos, there’s a part of this city that nobody wants to see.
Well, it’s more of a club that you’ll join, but this is a club that will ensure that you’ll never place another bet in Las Vegas casinos ever again.
The Last Vegas Black Book is a thing of nightmares for some gamblers and it’s a list of people that are banned from every casino in Nevada. While the number is currently at 35, these are people that have been blacklisted and every doorman in the state is aware of whom they are. The question that’s probably on your mind is what would you need to do to get into the black book and that’s what we’ll be discussing in this segment.
What is the Las Vegas Black Book?
The Las Vegas Black Book or the Gaming Control Board Excluded Persons List is a list of individuals that are banned from gambling in Nevada. This list was established in 1960 after a recommendation heard in the Kefauver Hearings in the US Senate and it’s one of the initial major federal investigations into American organized crime. The reality is that Las Vegas wasn’t always the reputable city that’s run by billion-dollar organizations, instead, during the 1950s; the majority of the city was controlled by the Chicago Mob, with unsavory characters such as Bugsy Siegel being one of the major players in the city.
Siegel used tactics such as extortion, game rigging, bribery, and muscle to control the largest casinos in the city. This is when Nevada authorities started cleaning up the city to give it a second chance, and this also led to the establishment of a public blacklist that featured some of the most notorious criminals which were used to keep casino owners informed of who needed to be kept out. Once the book was published, the Nevada Supreme Court had announced that this list would be used to ensure that casino owners could keep avoiding major criminal activity and enforcing public assurance and trust in the casino industry.
Mobsters initially shrugged off the list, but this quickly changed as the Las Vegas Gaming Control Board established itself as the most authoritative agency in the city. The Board continued to mercilessly enforce the blacklist and it had ensured that no known mobster could get to the front door of a casino. The Black Book had gained a reputation for striking fear into the hearts of mobsters as they knew that once their name had entered the book, their career of crime was over.
When Would You End Up in the Black Book?
While you could enter any land-based casino and implement a strategy such as card counting or some form of edge sorting move, and be asked to leave as you’re deemed an occupational hazard. However, ending up in the Las Vegas Black Book is an entirely different ball game as you’ll need to perform a felony of some sort. It’s often viewed as a special part of casino hell and as an undesired patron, you’ll be escorted to the ninth level by the authorities as you’re being booted from an industry, not just a casino.
As previously stated, the list contains 35 “members” and it’s available to the public on the Nevada Gaming Control Board website. Most of the members that are currently on the list have been put there for cheating by using intricate methods while playing table games such as Baccarat, Blackjack, Roulette, and Poker. While these names are likely to be unknown to the general public, historic members included some of the most dangerous mobsters to run the criminal underworld.
This included mobsters such as Tony ‘The Ant’ Spilotro, a man who had served as the inspiration for Joe Pesci’s character ‘Nicky’ in the film Casino. He was placed on the list due to various ruthless attempts at casino staff intimidation. Then John Vaccaro was added, a man that had organized the largest slot-fixing con in American history at the request of a Californian crime family, and his wife had also been added to the list as the only woman to ever been added to the Black Book.
The latest addition to the Las Vegas Black Book was in 2018 as the first new addition in over 10 years. Jeffrey Martin organized a detailed craps cheating plan with two assistants and he successfully cheated the Bellagio Casino out of $1 million over many years. Martin has attempted to be removed from the Black Book with a variety of legal appeals, but the GCB has maintained its stance.
The Reputation of the Black Book
To understand how much people had feared the Black Book, most cheaters would rather do jail time if that means that they won’t be added to the Book. An example of this world be with a recent scammer that had been arrested for tainting cards during rounds of Blackjack and he had been arrested at his home where authorities had found that he had been creating cheating equipment and disguises. His livelihood came from robbing casinos by means of cheating and he didn’t want to be banned, so much so that he had protested to serve a prison sentence in place of being put into the Black Book.
However, after pleading guilty to a felony burglary and being placed on probation, he had also found his mark in the Black Book. It’s incredibly difficult to get into the Black Book and to do so, you’ll need to perform an act that upsets the Nevada Gaming Control Board. While getting in is hard, getting out is even harder, and the only known way to do so is by dying. The remaining of the original members of the Black Book, Los Angeles Crime Boss, Louis Thomas Dragna, had broken free of the Book after passing at the ripe age of 92.
Experiences Being in the Black Book
Most of the members of the Black Book don’t have much problem with being there. Sometimes, being placed in the Black Book will provide you with opportunities and this has led many cheaters to see it as a way of advertising your dastardly skills. According to William Gene Land, landing in the Las Vegas Black Book was a badge of honor that he proudly wore and it opened up many opportunities for him. There are a handful of companies that are open to working with criminals as the best way to prevent a crime from happening is to learn to think like a criminal, which not everyone is capable of doing.
Land was talented enough to be employed by lucrative card-marking teams that functioned outside the Black Book’s range of control. He now claims to be done with the cheating business after earning millions by organizing plays despite his infamy. Another cheater that was caught for rigging slot machines has stated that being added to the Book was an experience that was more like an advertising stunt than anything else as he lives in Las Vegas and every bar and supermarket has slots, which he’s able to access, so it didn’t make much sense to him.
Is the Las Vegas Black Book Still Needed?
No matter how we look at it, a Black Book is a rather old-school method of regulating criminal activity in Nevada casinos. Another important aspect that needs to be considered is the fact that cheating in casinos is incredibly rare and borderline impossible. Organized crime syndicates have also steered away from casinos many years ago as their interests lie in other industries. Land-based casinos on the Las Vegas strip are no longer as popular as they used to be and most people now opt for online gambling as there are a variety of brilliant online casinos that have set up shop in the US.
It’s also impossible to cheat on an online casino due to the intensity of the security that’s provided at the casino. Hence objects such as the Las Vegas Black Book have become rather archaic; however, it’s an incredibly entertaining reminder of the questionable past of the Las Vegas gambling industry and it shows the lengths that the Las Vegas Gaming Control Board had gone to clean up the city and rid the industry of organized crime.
While the possibility of someone from the Black Book could try to enter Caesars Palace and pull a scam, the possibility of them achieving what they had set out to do is low and we doubt that anyone is that stupid. So, we’ll likely never see another person added to the Black Book; however, this is something that will always be fun to look at as those that feature in it are the characters we’d usually find in movies and TV shows.
Author: Dave Perez
Dave Perez is a casino content expert working in the industry for 5 years as a content manager, looking for the best online casino tips? follow this guy
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
This website uses Google Analytics to collect anonymous information such as the number of visitors to the site, and the most popular pages.
Keeping this cookie enabled helps us to improve our website.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.