Panel Discussion Coincides with 20th Anniversary of Film’s Release
LAS VEGAS (September 2015) – In recognition of the 20th anniversary of the release of Martin Scorsese’s award-winning film, “Casino,” The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, presents its next Courtroom Conversation: “The Real Story behind ‘Casino.’” The panel discussion among individuals with firsthand knowledge of the true events on which the movie was based will take place inside the Museum’s historic courtroom on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m.
Organized crime’s control of the casino industry was waning during the 1970s, but the Chicago Outfit kept its grip on the Stardust, Fremont, Marina and Hacienda hotels. Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, a highly regarded sports betting expert, was the Outfit’s man in charge of the skim. Tony Spilotro was sent to the desert to protect Rosenthal as he skimmed millions of dollars of casino profits that were distributed to several Midwestern organized crime groups.
Spilotro caused more problems than he prevented. He demanded a “street tax” from the town’s criminals and set up a burglary ring that smashed holes in the walls and roofs of high-end homes, jewelry stores and other businesses and attracted intense scrutiny from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. In 1979, Spilotro ended up in Nevada’s Black Book, which prevented him from setting foot in a casino. In 1986, his body and that of his brother Michael were found buried in an Indiana cornfield.
Rosenthal, too, was a law enforcement target. He was denied a state gaming license because of his underworld ties, but he secretly operated the Stardust while holding a mid-level title. Rosenthal left Las Vegas soon after surviving a car bombing in October 1982. He was placed in Nevada’s Black Book in 1987 and died in Florida in 2008.
In “Casino,” the Ace Rothstein character, played by Robert De Niro, is based on Rosenthal, while the Nicky Santoro character, played by Joe Pesci, is based on Spilotro.
- Oscar Goodman, attorney for Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal and Tony Spilotro
- Jeff Silver, State Gaming Control Board attorney during Spilotro/Rosenthal era
- Marc Kaspar, retired FBI agent who pursued Spilotro for a decade
- Deborah Richard, undercover FBI agent who infiltrated the Spilotro camp
- Gwen Castaldi, television reporter during the Spilotro/Rosenthal era
Tickets for “The Real Story behind ‘Casino’” are available online here. The cost is $25; Museum Members receive a 10 percent discount. For more information, go to www.TheMobMuseum.org or call (702) 229-2734.
ABOUT THE MOB MUSEUM
The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, is a world-class destination in downtown Las Vegas dedicated to the thrilling story of organized crime and law enforcement. The Museum presents unbelievable stories about the Mob, its impact on Las Vegas history and unique imprint on the world. True stories of Mob history are brought to life in an eye-opening style via interactive exhibits, high-tech theater presentations and nearly 1,000 authentic artifacts, the largest collection of Mob and law enforcement memorabilia under one roof. Since opening in 2012, The Mob Museum has accumulated numerous accolades, including being named one of the “Best Places to Travel in 2015” by Travel + Leisure Magazine, “A Must for Travelers” by The New York Times, one of “20 Places Every American Should See” by Fox News and Budget Travel magazine, “Las Vegas’ Best New Attractions for 2012” by Travel + Leisure magazine, “9 Reasons to Visit Las Vegas” by CNNgo, a finalist for the “Best Wider World Project Award,” by the British Guild of Travel Writers and “Best Museum” by Nevada Magazine. Admission is $21.95 for adults ages 18 and over with special pricing for online purchase, children, seniors, military, law enforcement, Nevada residents, and teachers. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call (702) 229-2734 or visit www.TheMobMuseum.org. Connect on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/TheMobMuseum, on Twitter: @TheMobMuseum and subscribe to the Museum’s Mobcast here.