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Gambling History

Read true stories. Dive into the underworld. Explore compelling features.


“One of the best casino biographies I have seen. Meticulous detail, well researched, and by far the most detailed account yet of the twisted history that the operation deserves. … Your account is superb.”

—Howard W. Herz, American Gaming Archives

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Old Tales of Nevada


This blog brings to life compelling and true casino- and gambling-related stories, from around the world, between 1800 and 2000.

  • Crimes

  • Celebrities

  • Lawsuits

  • Gangsters

  • Wins

  • Corruption

  • Casinos

  • Follies

  • Pop culture

  • And much more.

By Doresa Banning

June 22, 2022

It Really Happened! Blog Update

  Fabulous Subscribers, Just a quick note to inform you we’re taking the summer off from developing new blog posts for It Really Happened! We’ll be back in September, rejuvenated and reinvigorated, with fresh content, so please stay tuned. As always, we’re super grateful for your readership, encouragement and support. We wish you all a […]

By Doresa Banning

June 8, 2022

From a Craps Game to the ICU

1934-1935 An argument between two underworld men devolved into violence during a dance endurance competition in Hollywood, California on April 14, 1934. Explosion of Rage At 7 a.m., the 21th consecutive hour of the walk-a-thon,* competing dancers sluggishly moved about the Winter Garden Auditorium floor. Mobster James “Socks” McDonough, among the spectators, sat at a […]

By Doresa Banning

May 25, 2022

By Doresa Banning

May 11, 2022

Kentuckian Builds U.S. Gambling Franchise in 1800s

1832-1860 Elijah Skaggs, nè Eli Harrison Skaggs (1818-1890) stands out in U.S. gambling history. He was one of the country’s cleverest card tricksters and a hugely successful gambler. More significantly, he created a franchise system for the business of crooked faro. “He probably had more to do with the spread of gambling in this country […]

Enjoy the Web’s premier source of fact-based gambling and casino history.

While you peruse the content, know that all of it’s been researched and vetted for accuracy as much as possible. Source lists are provided.

All components of the site are works in progress, updated regularly.

Enthralled by Bugsy, Capone, Lanksy, Costello, Luciano, et. al?

The Mobsters section is dedicated to these and similar notables — organized crime members involved in gambling. Bet you a cold beer or a hot latte you can’t ID everyone in the gallery.

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