Vegas Pays Respect To This Mobster
Anyone who is the least bit aware of the Las Vegas story knows that Bugsy Siegel had his part in the Strip’s development and history. Contrary to Hollywood’s depiction, Bugsy was not the visionary for the Strip. His Flamingo Hotel, that still stands and thrives today, was not the first one to be built on the Strip. In fact, it was the third, and it was finished five years after the first hotel which was the El Rancho in 1941.
The mob has been a big part of Vegas history and its mystique. Today, the city still embraces its mob connections as demonstrated by the Mob Museum and various venues that offers dinner with the mob. In fact, it is fair to say, that Vegas would not be Vegas if it were not for the mob’s initial control of the city and Strip. Mob money, laundered as it was, was responsible for funding many of the hotels. The Flamingo was a clear case in fact.
Another myth about Bugsy’s Flamingo is that he envisioned it and built it. Not true. He actually wrestled the half finished property away from Billy Wilkerson, a night club owner and newspaper publisher. Bugsy caused tremendous cost overruns, but finally got the Flamingo opened. His overruns and skimming from his mob buddies got him assassinated on June 20, 1947. But Bugsy is still honored.