This is a story about the Mafia in its heyday. If you have watched the movie Casino then you got a lesson in how the casino skim went down. This is about the real men behind the skim of the Stardust Casino.
In the 1970’s a clean cut man in his 30’s, Allen R. Glick, first bought the Hacienda Hotel and Casino for somewhere around 5 million dollars. He did well with it and he showed promise as a casino operator.
Glick controlled the ARGENT company that soon got a Teamster loan for 140 million dollars to purchase the Stardust, Fremont and the Marina Casino’s.
He then put Lefty Rosenthal in charge of the Stardust, but he was really the point man for the Chicago Outfit, Kansas City and the Milwaukee families. Lefty had one job and that was to increase the skim and keep it coming.
The Outfit was not happy with the skim coming out of Las vegas because they had been hit hard by the Feds and it had become harder to get cash from their own casinos.
When Bugsy had built the Flamingo a casino owner could just walk into the room where they brought all the cash before it hit the count room and grab stacks of cash.
They could go to a table and sign a marker, play and then cash out. Later they would have the marker disappear.
In the 1970’s a casino owner was not allowed in the count room and all the cash had to be accounted for that came in or went out.
They could no longer gamble at their own casinos.
They had to come up with a better method. Where there is a will, there is a way.
They had to go low. Instead of going for the bills, they went for the coins.
The slots were bringing in so much cash that they could not count it everyday. So they purchased scales that could weigh them in bulk. They then recalibrated the scales to under weigh the coins.
They had the coins from the other three casinos brought to the Stardust everyday. They then had a guy to set the scales so they registered 10% less when they were weighed.
They started to do this with the dollar tokens and silver dollars that the dollar slot machines used back then.
So now they had a steady stream of cash coming in. How did they get it in a form that they could spend? Coins might be legal tender, but nobody is going to walk around with hundreds of dollars in coins.
The key was the change girls that used to walk around the floor taking customers bills and swapping them out for rolls of coins.
The girls used to get the coins from the cashier's cage, but the Stardust installed coin cabinets along the walls that had coins and a dropbox for the bills.
They also set up a change booth that was not accountable to the gaming control board.
They filled both places with the 10% skim coins and they got back bills!
They were able to steal three hundred thousand dollars a week using this system. It is believed that they had this going for 5 years, with fifteen million dollars a year going to the mob families.
These guys took down seventy five million that they know about.