Feature

Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal

The Las Vegas gambler who survived a car bombing

The Las Vegas gambler who survived a car bombing
Frank ‘Lefty’ Rosenthal
1929–2008

Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, a onetime Chicago bookmaker who brought sports betting to Las Vegas and was the inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s movie Casino, got his nickname in 1961 while appearing before a Senate panel investigating gambling and organized crime. Invoking the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination 38 times, he simply kept his left hand aloft during the entire proceeding.

The Chicago-born Rosenthal was the son of a produce wholesaler “who also owned horses,” said The New York Times. Starting out as a horseplayer, oddsmaker, and sports bettor, he worked under the protection of mobsters, including his childhood friend Tony “the Ant” Spilotro. A numbers whiz with a genius for calculating odds, Rosenthal moved to Las Vegas in 1968 to manage four mob-owned casinos—Stardust, Fremont, Hacienda, and Marina—while Spilotro served as enforcer. Rosenthal later married topless dancer Geri McGee, whose affair with Spilotro led to a falling out between the two men.

Nevada authorities eventually discovered that Rosenthal was running casinos without a state license, said the New York Post. After he lost an appeal, he was placed in the state’s “black book,” barring him from any casino. In 1982, Rosenthal got into his Cadillac after leaving Tony Roma’s restaurant with a takeout order of ribs. When he turned on the ignition, said the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the car exploded. But a steel plate he had installed under the seat saved his life. While the bombing was never solved, he conceded that he did not think “it was the work of the Boy Scouts.”

Recommended

Ukraine: Explosions at air base in Crimea destroyed 9 Russian warplanes
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
world news

Ukraine: Explosions at air base in Crimea destroyed 9 Russian warplanes

Iranian charged in alleged plot to assassinate John Bolton
Jon Bolton
Murder-for-hire

Iranian charged in alleged plot to assassinate John Bolton

Ukraine bombed key Russian air base in Crimea, official says
Blast at Russian air base in Crimea
Whodunnit

Ukraine bombed key Russian air base in Crimea, official says

Pentagon: As many as 80,000 Russian troops killed, injured in Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
war in ukraine

Pentagon: As many as 80,000 Russian troops killed, injured in Ukraine

Most Popular

Axios revives Trump toilet scoop ... with photos
Donald Trump.
toiletgate

Axios revives Trump toilet scoop ... with photos

Trump reportedly wanted generals like Hitler's 'German generals in World War II'
Trevor Noah
Don't Know Much about History....

Trump reportedly wanted generals like Hitler's 'German generals in World War II'

Is no-fault divorce Republicans' next target?
Wedding cake
Briefing

Is no-fault divorce Republicans' next target?