Mob insider talks about old Vegas, new CBS show - FOX Carolina 21

Mob insider talks about old Vegas, new CBS show

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Jon D'Amore Jon D'Amore
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The new CBS drama Vegas has just been upped for another season.

The show follows Dennis Quaid as the rancher and lawman tries to keep the mob in line in the 1960s.

CBS 5 News talked with a mob insider for his take on the Vegas he remembers from back in the day.

Vegas is nostalgic in many ways and for one former mob insider, it's reminiscent of an indulgent time when gangsters ran the show.

"It's 15 years before my Vegas episode," Jon D'Amore said.

D'Amore is the author of The Boss Always Sits in the Back and comes from a family of old Jersey mobsters.

In the 1970s, before there was Atlantic City, they came cross-country for a piece of the Vegas pie.

"When the plane would land in Vegas, everyone would applaud," D'Amore said. "You get that feeling... that excitement."

Roped into his first trip to Sin City by his godfather, D'Amore was soon wrapped up in a multi-million dollar scam that changed the way gamblers qualify for credit lines at casinos.

"Now they don't build cities like Las Vegas because the odds say you're going to win," D'Amore said.

Casinos used to give $25,000 lines sight unseen, paying for flights, rooms and entertainment to East Coast mobsters they hoped to fleece money from. It went the other way.

"Every time you went there, you were given $25,000 and told to go lose it. That was all part of the scam," D'Amore said.

It played out on the craps table. D'Amore said he always bet and lost opposite a partner who always countered and won. They had 10 guys who'd bring in a quarter of a million dollars in a weekend for the mob off borrowed money.

"I had only one mission: bet the pass line, back it up - that was it, so I really couldn't screw anything up," D'Amore said.

Then someone got drunk and talked. D'Amore got booted. The guy who talked got the ultimate punishment.

"He wound up... floating in his hot tub," D'Amore said.

D'Amore said while the new fall drama isn't completely authentic, at least it's a slice of history.

"It's made for TV, and it's made for America," D'Amore said.

Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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