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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

January 8, 2020

Few Convictions for Cheating at Gambling Interpreted

1931-1948 Gambling and cheating at gambling go together like, well, coins in a slot machine or cards in a shoe. Seemingly, they always will despite various efforts — violence, laws/rules, surveillance, firings, procedures, technology and more — to thwart chicanery. “The casino gambling business is especially susceptible to fraudulent schemes,” wrote Jerome Skolnick in House […]

By Doresa Banning

January 1, 2020

By Doresa Banning

December 18, 2019

Reno Gambling Club Owners Describe Industry’s Ruling Mobsters

1920s-1930s It’s undisputed that Mobsters ruled early gambling in Reno, Nevada’s 1920s and 1930s. Two club owners who offered games of chance in the city courageously wrote, in their memoirs roughly two decades later, about the powers that were. Here are the authors and their depictions created with words:  Harold Smith, Sr., I Want to […]

By Doresa Banning

December 13, 2019

Nevada Mobsters Run Illegal Games at Oregon Retreat, Reportedly

1935-1939 The reach of Reno, Nevada’s Mobsters into gambling during their heyday allegedly extended to a small Oregon hideaway for California’s rich and famous: Currier’s Village. William “Bill/Curly” Graham and James “Jim/Cinch” McKay are said to have operated the gaming at the secluded resort with “their friends from Los Angeles,” according to Al Moe in […]

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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