As a regular writer of Las Vegas articles, I am often asked if I believe that there is still a connection between organized crime and Las Vegas. I always answer the same thing, “If organized crime and Las Vegas are still linked, it would be one of the best kept secrets in the United States.” It would also be next to impossible to cover this up.
In the late 1960s, and well into the 1970s, the government of Nevada and the federal government spent a lot of time and money making sure that organized crime would leave Las Vegas, and never return. Government officials wanted to clean up the reputation of Las Vegas to let others know that their safety was insured (at least figuratively speaking).
At the time, the Las Vegas gaming commission, the IRS, the Department of Organized Crime of the Nevada State Police set up reams of laws that would make it very difficult for a Las Vegas casino to hide any kind of connection to organized crime. Audits, re-audits, checks and balances were all set up at the time to ensure that organized crime could no longer hold claim to Las Vegas.
Ever since the early part of this century, the federal government has taken even a stronger hold on organized crime. While directly not linked to organized crime in Las Vegas, the Patriot Act made it even easier for governmental bodies to investigate any kind of criminal activity that could belong to any, “established or establishing,” group.
I will never deny that there might still be some kind of organized criminal activity in Las Vegas and it’s environs. I will stand by the fact that there are too many stipulations, laws, and checks in place for these organized crime groups to get involved in casino or hotel activity.
Even though many groups have worked hard to rid Las Vegas of organized crime, the historical shadow still remains. Not only can you find tons of mob paraphernalia in museums around Las Vegas, there are still whispers from time to time in the city of something more. While someone might suggest that behind every conspiracy there is a little truth, I believe that the whispers and rumors of current organized crime activity in Las Vegas are fueled by something more.
During the time of organized crime in Las Vegas, there was a strong sense of prosperity. While a high-level of prosperity still exists in Sin City, it has been lessened by the economic situations of the last few years in America. I believe that a, “return to the old ways,” might give some of the locals a sense of hope. Granted, a Las Vegas recovery can be forecasted for sometime in the next few years, but it is not organized crime that will drive this. It will be the greed and dreams of people from around the world that want a chance to break the bank.