To put modern day events into a historical perspective it's Gaming floor's intention to have regular looks back at the colourful world of casino gaming.

We start off with a Sunday Telegraph story from 1968 when the British parliament was debating the new Gaming Act and of course the perceived threat to the nation from organized crime.

Originally posted in Gaming floor May 1999.

Mafia anxiety over British Gaming Bill

Sunday Telegraph. March 3rd, 1968.
Peter Gladstone Smith

     Casino managers from London have taken part in a crisis conference of Mafia chiefs at Miami, Fl. 

     They discussed how the Gaming Bill being introduced by the Government will effect the Mafia's interests in West End gaming clubs.

     It is known to the American Federal authorities that Mafia money has been heavily invested in a number of London clubs.

     One of the Casino men from London went by air to Miami to meet Angelo Bruno. This American is officially noted by the Chief Justice department as a chief of American crime.

     The East Coast syndicate wanted to know the effects of the proposed Gaming Board, with its own inspectors on activities in London. They also wanted to know the consequences of the House of Lords ruling that zero(0) Roulette is illegal. Of particular concern was the proviso of the Bill that no one with a criminal record may own a stake in a Casino. They considered new covers for American underworld money in London gambling.

     The reputed head of the East Coast syndicate is Mayer Lansky. A former Cuban Casino operator, he was named at hearings of Senator Kefauvers crime investigating committee in 1950-51 as being associated with the Mafia.

     Scotland Yard has uncovered new evidence of strong arm tactics by  underworld gangsters. They have been acting in the interests of American investment in London gambling.

    Mr.Jenkins, then Home Secretary said in the commons a year ago that eight Americans concerned in British Casinos had been barred from Britain because their presence was not conductive to the public good. These included Mr.George Raft & Mr.Dino Cellini.

      Direct connections between the East Coast syndicate & London gaming were disclosed 2 years ago by Robert Morgenthau, the Federal Governments law officer for N.Y. State. His men raided the offices of Herbert Liebert a leading Manhattan Bookmaker. Liebert jumped out of a window & died of a heart attack. 

The caption to the image above taken from "The only game in town" authored by Hank Messick and Burt Goldblatt.

"George Raft, Director of the Colony club in London takes over the operation of the roulette wheel in this 1966 photo".

Please note the pre-gaming act double zero wheel & colour banks of 300.

Should Mr. Raft have been kicked out of Britain though ?.

For future stories we're interested in casino photographs from 1960's & 70's London as well as further information on George Raft, Dino Cellini and the Colony Club.

Edit August 2010 - added larger picture and tidied page up a little. Ian
Wikipedia - Dino Cellini

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