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Atlantic City's Blacklist Keeps Mob Out

16 June 2003

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey – As reported by the Press of Atlantic City: “…`It's a constant battle,’ said Thomas Auriemma, the director of gaming enforcement for the state Attorney General's Office.

“Atlantic City never saw a mob-run casino, such as in the early days of Las Vegas. But plenty of mobsters have been trying to get in on the action by working industry's periphery - unions, restaurants and bars.

“Twenty-five years after the casinos came to town, regulators and law enforcement officials say New Jersey has been largely successful in keeping the mob from running Atlantic City casinos.

“They point to the casino exclusion list as the reason. Filled mostly with Philadelphia and New York City organized-crime figures, the list is a who's who of people whom casino regulators don't want stepping foot in the casinos: Louis `Gums’ Morelli, Gaetano `Corky’ Vastola and Nicodemo `Little Nicky’ Scarfo, to name just a few of the more than 160 names now listed.

“…`We've been very successful in keeping organized crime out of the ownership or management of casinos, hotels and the service industry,’ Auriemma said. `But we're always being vigilant.’

“Auriemma said the mob poses the biggest threat to the casino industry by attempting to infiltrate the construction sector and win building contracts.

“…Most of those placed on the list don't contest the action.

“…But the list only keeps people out of casinos and their hotels. As recent history has shown, the mob hasn't stayed out of Atlantic City entirely. Investigators say mobsters are constantly trying to make inroads into peripheral, spin-off industries.

“Bruno and the mob, for example, had big plans for Atlantic City 25 years ago by infiltrating the sales of alcohol and tobacco. And everybody knew it. The State Commission of Investigation issued a report detailing Bruno's attempts to make inroads in Atlantic City in 1977.

“…But one thing is clear, regulators say. Rooting out the mob isn't as simple as it used to be. Techniques vary. But mobsters these days do more than mere strong-arming of local businesses into using certain cigarette vending machines…”

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