Today, most gambling happens online. But there was a time when the casinos of Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, and beyond, were went folks went when they wanted to have a good time away from home.
But aside from the actual gambling games, casinos have captivated gamblers and non-gamblers alike for the many unique and mysterious characters that have over the years graced their floors.
Below are some of our favourite casino mysteries that have yet to be solved.
Murder In The Desert
The disappearance of George Jay Vandermark remains one of the biggest casino mysteries of all time.
Vandermark used to work as a slot machines supervisor at the famous Stardust Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. But on May 18, 1976, things would turn suddenly dramatic for Vandermark when the Nevada Gaming Control Board carried out an unannounced raid after several reports of Mafia-involvement in the casino’s operations.
On that fateful day, the board uncovered a scheme involving an incredible $7 million that had been skimmed from the casino’s slot machines for the Mafia.
Vandermark’s involvement became obvious after he fled the scene and eventually the city. It would later emerge that Vandermark had indeed worked for the Mafia, but that he had lied to his overlords about the amount of money he’d stolen from the machines.
As it turned out, he had kept a $3 million small-fortune for himself.
While Vandermark is thought to have been murdered by the Mafia and buried in the desert, his body was never found. Subsequently, nobody has ever been charged with the illegal skimming of the money.
The 1992 Theft From The Stardust
The Stardust makes an appearance in our second story also.
In 1992, an employer of the since-demolished casino stunned the world when he simply strolled out of the door with chips and cash valued at an estimated $500k tucked into his pockets and tog bag. But perhaps craziest of all, is that William John Brennan, has not been seen since.
According to those who used to work with Brennan, he’d up until that point had a shiny clean record. A clean-cut guy and courteous guy who supposedly kept mostly to himself, nobody would ever have suspected Brennan to have been planning one of the largest and most perfectly executed casino heists of all time.
Brennan remains a free man to this very day.
The Killing Of Bill Coulthard
If casino crime history has taught us anything, it’s never to do business with the Mafia. Had he lived to tell the story, retired FBI agent and Las Vegas businessman Bill Coulthard would have been the first to agree.
During the 1970’s, Coulthard became entangled in a dirty feud with notorious gangster reportedly member of the Mob, Benny Binion. It all came to a heated end when Coulthard refused to extend the gambling licence off a premises owned and operated by Binion.
Shortly after, on 25 July 1972, Coulthard came to a horrible end when his car exploded in the parking lot of his office in Clark County.
While Binion would forever remain the number one suspect, nobody was ever formally charged with the killing of Bill Coulthard.