Gangster Tours in Northern Kentucky
Before there was Las Vegas, there was Newport, Kentucky. Visit Newport and you can walk the streets where gangsters made their millions and gamblers lost their lives and learn about the casinos, brothels and speakeasies that lined up the streets of Newport.
The region of Northern Kentucky has a rich history, including times when gambling halls and Vegas-style nightclubs operated here.
Newport in Northern Kentucky was the original ‘Sin City’ and was known as America's Playground from the 1920s to 1960s. Celebrities such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were regular visitors, as well as people like George Remus, a Chicago lawyer and pharmacist turned rumrunner and famous gangster including Al Capone, Dutch Schultz, Meyer Lansky, Peter Schmidt, Screw Andrews and many others.
The Prohibition Era
Prohibition was a major reason for the growth of organised crime. Otherwise legal businesses, including restaurants became "speakeasies", corruption became the norm and politicians began to appear publicly with bootleggers. In Newport these impacts were as real as anywhere else. During the early years of Prohibition many major syndicates including those of Al Capone, Dutch Schultz and Meyer Lansky purchased some of their stock in Newport .
The Gambling Era
When Prohibition ended in 1933, bootleggers had to find new work. They turned to gambling and it is from the speakeasies that many gambling locations spawned including some of the most popular casinos like Beverly Hills Club, the Flamingo and the Tropicana Club. Gambling in Newport came in many forms, from casinos to horse tracks and from country clubs offering slot machines and bingo to the infamous “bust out joints”.
It is said that by day, the town's population was around 30,000, at night, it was close to 100,000.The opportunities were endless and this gained the attention of the Cleveland Syndicate, which were closely allied with Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel in New York. The Mafia was moving into Newport…..and the gambling and crime continued until the 1960.
As Newport entered into the 1960's there were signs that the three decade long gambling boom was coming to an end. Although the major syndicates still had holdings in Newport, the leadership was gone. Following a stream of national exposés and movements, Newport began to clean up its act. The Newport mobs moved west to Las Vegas, where the first nine casinos all had Newport ties in ownership.
Booking a Gangster Tour
You can learn all about Newport Gangster history when you book a guided public tour or a private tour with American Legacy Tours – the original creators of the Gangster Tours in Newport.
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