Gambling-Related Mob Murders

Gambling cities like Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Havana inevitably seem to attract criminals. Maybe it's all the money floating around and all the opportunities a dishonest person has to profit. It's safe to say that the mob was drawn to gambling cities because upstart casinos represented an easy way for them to launder money from their other, less legal business endeavors. Regardless of what attracted the mob to Las Vegas, much of the city's early development was funded by it. Even today many people believe that the mob still has strong ties to Sin City, and the repeated election of the current mayor—Oscar Goodman—only seems to confirm those rumors.

Many of the big mob figures died of old age; some died in prison; still others met early ends when they were assassinated by enemies or angry colleagues. Flamingo founder Bugsy Siegel's assassination is still much talked about in Las Vegas, though ultimately he met his end in L.A. Here are some other Las Vegas mob figures that earned the same fate.

Gus Greenbaum took over where Siegel left off. He and mob associate Moe Sedway lifted the Flamingo out of debt in mere months. Greenbaum was a good businessman, but unfortunately he was also a terrible gambler. By the late 1950s, Greenbaum was so desperate for money to fuel his drug and gambling addictions that he started embezzling funds from the casinos he ran. It didn't take long for his fearsome employers to discipline him; in 1958 Greenbaum and his wife were found with their throats cut.

Anthony Brancanto and Anthony Trombino worked for the mob, but they certainly weren't members. Maybe if they had been someone would have saved their necks. In an act of desperation, the two cash-strapped guns for hire made the ill-fated decision to rob the mob-owned and run Flamingo in May of 1951. Brancanto neglected to wear a mask, and he was later identified by witnesses. Once the mob knew their targets, the fate of the “Two Tonys” was sealed. Less than three months after the crime, both men were found shot dead in a car parked on Hollywood Boulevard.

For 15 years, Anthony Spilotro oversaw the Chicago Outfit's Las Vegas interests. He first appeared on the scene in 1971, though he was already friends with other big Las Vegas names like Lefty Rosenthal. Over the next few years, Spilotro made a mess of his connections. He ordered several conspicuous hits, started a burglary ring that got many of his best men imprisoned, and then went on to ruin his relations with Rosenthal by sleeping with his wife. By the beginning of 1986, the Outfit had lost patience. Only weeks into the new year, Spilotro's and his brother's bodies were found buried in a cornfield.