Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel


Las Vegas Bugsy

Benjamin Hymen Siegel, was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 28, 1906, to a poor family.

Siegel, his parents, and his four siblings lived in a small public housing apartment. At a young age, he strove for ways to get rich.

When he was nine years old, he started playing con games after seeing other people do it on the streets. By the time he was in his teens, he was already a hardened street tough. He earned his income mainly though organizing games of craps on the sidewalks.

Later on, he would meet Meyer Lansky and they would form a small gang of their own. It was around this time that he got the nickname 'Bugsy', because his behavior was said to be erratic, like a bug. The Bug and Meyer's gang started with burglary. It soon led to bootlegging, extortion, hijacking, robbery, narcotics trafficking, and murder to name a few. Later on, he also made connections with Italian mob leaders and became their hired assassin making him one of the most feared gangsters of his time.

But one of Siegel's better contributions to the world was that he was one of the people that helped make Las Vegas what it is today.

Benjamin Siegel wanted to have a legitimate business which presented itself in the early 1940's when he went to Las Vegas and saw the possibilities there. He partnered with Billy Wilkerson in establishjing a place with class and sophistication as opposed to the frontier themed establishments which were prevalent in Nevada at that time.

He began building a hotel and casino and named it the Flamingo. However, Siegel proved to be a naive businessman. The construction itself had millions in overhead costs because the workers cheated him by bringing in the materials, stealing them, and selling them back to him on the next day.

But Siegel still went through with it. He borrowed more money from the Mob, which made them suspect he was stealing from them. When the hotel opened in December 26, 1946 it was deemed a failure. His guests from Hollywood could not fly in because of the bad weather; he also lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in his casino in the first two weeks. It ultimately closed within a month due to bankruptcy.

But Siegel was persistent. He finished renovating all the rooms and reopened it on March 1, 1947. After a month in operation, the business was finally earning a profit. The mob bosses though were tired of waiting and on June 20, Siegel was murdered in his girlfriend's apartment. The syndicate took over the Flamingo which eventually became a big success. It became even more popular after his death, spurring more tourists to visit.

So if you have not yet visited the Sin City, it is really worth having a look, and it is mostly Benjamin Bugsy Siegel's achievement. At casinos have self control, decide your maximum budget before you enter the slot machines toom. If you do not like casino games, just watch the Cirque du Soleil's shows or go to a nice restaurant.

Anyway small or big, let's enjoy gambling with reason.