VEGAS MYTHS DEBUNKED: Lefty Rosenthal Employs the Strip’s Initial Female Dealers

Posted on: July 17, 2023, 08:04h. Last updated on: July 16, 2023, 11:02h.
Sure, Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal operated the Stardust, Fremont, Marina, and Hacienda casinos in Las Vegas for the mafia from 1976 to 1979 without a gaming license, allowing the syndicate to make at least $1.6 million illegally. In the ’50s, he purchased contracts to manipulate sporting events, leading to several sports bribery indictments. He was also linked to multiple business and car bombings in Miami in the ’60s, which prompted his move to Las Vegas in 1968.
Frank Rosenthal testifies in front of a Senate Investigations Subcommittee about match-fixing in 1961.
But Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal also made history as the first Las Vegas Strip resort operator to hire female dealers for table games, which can be seen as a positive contribution to women’s rights. This offsets some of the negative aspects of his legacy.
Rosenthal with his associate Anthony Spilotro, a high-ranking member of the Chicago outfit, suspected of involvement in numerous murders.
However, this notion is a myth. Women were already working as card dealers in downtown Las Vegas since 1943. However, their presence started to threaten male dealers’ job security, leading to a ban on women working as card dealers that lasted for 12 years. Despite the ban, women continued to work as dealers outside the city limits. It was only in August 1970 that Jean Brady became the first female card dealer on the Las Vegas Strip.
Jean Brady, the first female blackjack dealer on the Las Vegas Strip, appears on a 1970 episode of the TV quiz show “To Tell The Truth.”
Brady was hired by casino manager Jack Piper to deal blackjack at the Silver Slipper, which was not controlled by Frank Rosenthal. The Strip was not a progressive place at the time, and there were instances of discrimination against female dealers. While Rosenthal did hire female dealers in his casinos, he was following a trend rather than initiating change. The only barrier he broke was hiring the first baccarat dealer, Shirley Brancucci, about five years after Brady’s hire. However, it is believed that Al Sachs, who ran the Stardust at the time, played a more significant role in Brancucci’s hiring than Rosenthal did. It can be concluded that Frank Rosenthal did not break any barriers for women’s rights.
Rosenthal is arrested in Las Vegas in 1971 for illegal gambling.
However, Rosenthal should be recognized for bringing sports betting to US casinos, as he introduced it to the Stardust in 1976. As for his impact on equal employment opportunities, his hiring of female dealers can be viewed as part of a larger trend rather than a groundbreaking move. The myth that Rosenthal was the first to allow women blackjack dealers on the Strip originated from Nicholas Pileggi’s book, “Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas,” in which Rosenthal served as a primary source of information. The book was also the basis for the film “Casino,” in which Robert De Niro portrayed a fictionalized version of Rosenthal.
Robert De Niro stars as Sam “Ace” Rothstein in the 1995 film, “Casino.”
Rosenthal continued to live a long and relatively peaceful life compared to others in his profession. He passed away in 2008 at the age of 79 in Miami. It wasn’t until after his death that it was revealed that he had been an FBI informant, a secret he had kept since leaving Las Vegas 26 years earlier. This revelation would have likely affected his place in Las Vegas history if it had been known earlier.

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