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Gambling History

Read true stories. Dive into the underworld. Explore compelling features.



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The blog, It Really Happened!, brings to life the fascinating stories of gambling-related:

  • Crimes

  • Celebrities

  • Lawsuits

  • Gangsters

  • Wins

  • Corruption

  • Casinos

  • Follies

  • Pop culture

  • And much more.

By Doresa Banning

July 1, 2020

Midwestern Casino Worker Leads Double Life

1933-1972 It was a typical Tuesday at the First National, and only, bank in the small Spring Valley, Minnesota community, population about 2,000, until gunmen burst through the doors and ordered everyone to lie on the floor or get in the criminals’ car outside. One of the three abrupt intruders had gold-capped teeth. He was […]

By Doresa Banning

June 26, 2020

By Doresa Banning

June 22, 2020

Gambler Adds Device to Get Roulette, Craps Defined as Slot Machines

1937 After Florida legalized slot machines in 1935, casino operator Myrton “Mert” Wertheimer, 53, devised a way to also get craps and roulette, unlawful at the time, allowed under the new rule. (Previously, only dog and horse race betting were legal, as of 1931.) Capitalizing on Wording Wertheimer, who ran the gambling at the Royal […]

By Doresa Banning

June 12, 2020

Three Brothers Build Legacy in 20th Century U.S. Gambling

1907-1958 Wertheimer was their name. Three of these four Michigan-born brothers became full-fledged, successful gambling operators in the first half of the 1900s, their reach spanning five states: Michigan, Ohio, Florida, California and Nevada. “As gamblers, Al, Mert and Lou became almost as well-known Detroiters as the automobile pioneers. However, the only thing the Wertheimers […]

Old Tales of Nevada

Enjoy the Web’s premier source of fact-based gambling history.

While you peruse the content, know that all of it’s been researched and vetted for accuracy as much as possible. Source lists are provided.

All components of the site are works in progress, updated regularly.

Enthralled by Bugsy, Capone, Lanksy, Costello, Luciano, et al?

The Mobsters section is dedicated to notables like them — criminal syndicate members involved in gambling. Bet you a cold beer or a hot latte you can’t ID everyone in the gallery.


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