Scroll to top

Gambling History

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


“One of the best casino biographies I have seen. Meticulous detail, well researched, and by far the most detailed account yet of the twisted history that the operation deserves. … Your account is superb.”

—Howard W. Herz, American Gaming Archives

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

November 25, 2020

Spite Leads to Creation and Destruction of World's "Most Sumptuous" Casino

1929-1933 Le Casino Municipal in Nice, France refused to cash Frank Jay Gould’s check so he could keep gambling there. This irked him. Gould wasn’t just a member of the bourgeoisie. Rather, he was an uber-wealthy American who’d been living and investing millions of dollars in various business ventures in the French Riviera since 1913. […]

By Doresa Banning

November 18, 2020

Nevada: "Gambling and Prostitution Should Not Go Hand in Hand"

1954 Two gambling-related issues — cheating by operators and prostitution — in Nevada’s town of Searchlight came to a head at the July meeting of the state tax commission, then responsible for overseeing gaming. Regarding the roughly 300-resident community, commissioners 1) had heard rumors that its local ladies of the night mingled with customers in […]

By Doresa Banning

November 11, 2020

By Doresa Banning

November 3, 2020

U.S. Prohibits Gambling on Domestic Election Results

1919-Today The now infamous Joseph “Joe” Conforte, known for having owned the Mustang Ranch brothel and having fought for the legalization of prostitution, both in Nevada, found himself behind bars there in fall 1960. The avid gambler officially asked for a reprieve from his 25-day jail sentence so he could wager on the outcomes of […]

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.


Share your knowledge with us. wouldn’t have come about without input from you, and your help is critical in making this the leading site of its kind.

We welcome all comments, information, ideas and questions! Feel free to connect with us here or on social media.