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On The Evening Of December 26, 1946, It Seemed That Benjamin

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On the evening of December 26, 1946, it seemed that Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel had done almost everything right for the debut of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. The casino was staffed with roulette, craps and blackjack dealers, restaurant and bar workers were ready to serve and the showroom was booked with famous entertainers, radio comedian Jimmy Durante and band leader Xavier Cugat. Siegel reassured Las Vegas residents by advertising the message, “Dress Optional at Anytime. Come as You Are.” bugsy-siegel-mugOn that first of three opening nights, Siegel — tall, good-looking, immaculate, charismatic — appeared in a black tuxedo with a pink carnation. His girlfriend, Virginia Hill, arrived with her hair dyed platinum blond. Despite a…show more content…
Siegel assaulted a roulette dealer he caught passing chips to a losing player. The comedienne and singer Rose Marie later reported performing one evening before less than two dozen people. An amazing 28,000 people made it to the Flamingo those first nights, but because its hotel rooms were not yet completed, guests had to find rooms at the neighboring El Rancho Vegas and Last Frontier resorts, where they dropped some of what they had won at Siegel’s expense. Siegel had every right to expect to take in a lot of money from the casino, but the unlikely winners left while their luck was good. The casino continued to bleed money through New Year’s Day. By late January, Siegel decided to close temporarily to save funds while he completed construction of the hotel and its planned amenities – an Olympic-sized pool, nine-hole golf course, badminton, handball and tennis courts. He placed a newspaper ad announcing the Flamingo would shut its doors from February 6 to March 1. He boasted of using imported marble and wood among the building materials, and that the Flamingo’s guest rooms, conceived by Hollywood designer Tom Douglas, would have private baths with individual connected sewers and tile with a color scheme that “harmonizes” with drapes and upholstered chairs in the bedroom. But Siegel, the free spender, was in denial about his abilities as a successful businessman. In
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