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Richard N. Velotta
 

Mobster's death seen as a good reason to lift Nevada casino ban

24 April 2015

There’s a good reason the Nevada Gaming Commission removed renowned slot-machine cheat Eugene Bulgarino from the state’s List of Excluded Persons, Nevada’s so-called “Black Book.”

He’s dead.

Commissioners on Thursday voted unanimously to strike Bulgarino from the list after regulators determined in a routine update that he died in Phoenix a little more than a year ago.

Bulgarino was placed on the list Sept. 24, 2004, after he served nearly four years in prison. Identified by the state Gaming Control Board as an associate of Philadelphia’s Bruno crime family, Bulgarino had a criminal history dating back to 1955. In 1999, he pled guilty in federal court for participating in a multimillion-dollar slot machine cheating operation as one of four co-conspirators.

Bulgarino purchased slot machine parts that were used to fraudulently manipulate slot machines. In addition, he actively recruited persons to claim fraudulent jackpots. He admitted that from September 1996 through November 1997, he aided an illegal slot machine scheme in collecting 10 separate jackpots at various Las Vegas casinos totaling $6.1 million, including cheating the Excalibur out of $200,500 in 1996.

Bulgarino also has been on the New Jersey Attorney General’s Exclusion List since May 17, 2006, after he was convicted of conspiracy, interstate travel in aid of racketeering, interstate transportation of stolen property, money laundering and aiding and abetting.

The Pennsylvania Crime Commission identified him in 1980 as associating with the “Bruno La Cosa Nostra Family.” His criminal exploits were chronicled in a book, “Jackpot: The Story of Eugene Bulgarino,” by Tarvis El Alberty.

The List of Excluded Persons, which now has 31 men and one woman, identifies people who have been convicted of crimes against the casino industry and bans them from entering a gaming establishment.

A representative of the state Attorney General’s Office distributed copies of Bulgarino’s death certificate to commissioners at the meeting.

Thursday’s action prompted Commissioner Pat Mulroy to inquire whether there would be a way to streamline the removal process when the person dies.

Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said his office always verifies deaths of persons on the list before recommending their removal.