Open City


As law enforcement across the nation cracked down on illegal gambling, mobsters cast their eyes toward Las Vegas. Why worry about the next police raid of your illegal gambling hall when you could operate legally in Las Vegas? In the 1940s and ’50s, Mob-connected individuals were responsible for the bulk of the resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, transforming this remote railroad town into an international gambling destination. Las Vegas was regarded as an “open city,” which meant any Mob syndicate could invest here. They came from all over: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Miami and beyond.

The Fabulous Flamingo exhibit within Open City chronicles the dramatic story of Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and the opening of the iconic, Mob-run Flamingo Hotel. Key artifacts include the original down payment check for the land on which the Flamingo was built, a legal document signed by Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and an authentic invitation to the Flamingo’s three-day grand opening.