Frank Rosenthal is perhaps the most important person in gambling history. He was the man who helped make Las Vegas what it is today by taking everything to a new level.
He was a native of Chicago, Illinois, born on June 12, 1929. Frank Rosenthal was tapped to run the new Stardust Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from the 60s through the early 80s. At one time, Frank was the official CEO of the Stardust, Fremont, Hacienda, and Marina casinos simultaneously, when managing a single casino is often too much work for any one man.
Upon arriving in Las Vegas from Chicago, Frank checked into the Tropicana hotel. While he was unpacking his things, there was a knock at the door and he answered it to find several plainclothes detectives that promptly arrested him, citing breaking and entering. He was taken by car to an interrogation room.
In the interrogation room, he requested that the cuffs be loosened, and they responded by tightening them. The chief of detectives walked in an told Frank, "You and your Chicago friends aren't welcome in our town. I want you to catch the next flight out of here and don't come back." This was only the beginning of the harassment of Frank Rosenthal by the sheriff, Frank Lamb.
He worked very hard to keep his casinos turning profits and was always trying new things. He was the first person to implement a Race & Sports betting parlor in a Las Vegas casino, causing all the others to follow suit. He was an expert at finding cheaters and spotting inside scam operations.
Frank's wife Geri
Frank married a beautiful showgirl named Geri, who was well known as a hustler among the casinos. At one time, he witnessed her take the chip tray from a high roller and throw it in the air, showering the other players with chips. She was apparently angry with the roller for not giving her a fair share of the winnings she helped him get. Geri was a wonderful woman, but soon fell prey to alcohol and drugs.
Frank's relationship with Anthony Spilotro is well known. Anthony set up a huge crime operation in Las Vegas while Frank was running the casinos and they became very good friends. However, the relationship deteriorated when Anthony got involved in an affair with Geri and the two started having personal differences.
During the 70s, Frank operated a popular television show called "the Frank Rosenthal Show". It featured a look into the gaming industry and had musical performers. The visitors to the show included well known entertainers Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope.
Frank's Cadillac that was bombed
In 1982, Frank went out to his Cadillac and cranked the engine, only to have the vehicle erupt in explosion. Frank survived with minor injuries because of a strong metal shield underneath the driver's seat. It is not known who was responsible for this attempt on his life.
In 1988, Frank was blacklisted by the Nevada Gaming Commission for being a suspect in directing a casino on behalf of organized crime interests and directing the money skimming operation. As a result, his application for a license to operate the casino was denied and he was now officially unable to operate any casino in Nevada, even if he could enter one.
In 1991, his appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court failed when they upheld a decision by the gaming commission to ban him from all gaming-related businesses in Nevada. Frank was very bitter from this result and left Nevada to return to handicapping. Frank said that the United States Supreme Court would probably see things differently, but nobody on the blacklist has appealed to the highest court in the United States and he doesn't plan to either.
Today, he operates his own website at frankrosenthal.com that allows paid members to use his expert handicapping skills. Frank is currently living in Boca Raton, Florida.
Frank Rosenthal was portrayed by Robert De Niro in the film "Casino" and a book was written on his life by Nicholas Pileggi. Frank rates his similarity to the Sam Rothstein character as 7 out of 10, with 10 being entirely similar.