Las Vegas is filled with wonder and hidden secrets many don't know about. Did you know that the ex-baseball star Pete Rose can be found in casinos ready to give out his autograph for a price?
Are you looking to find out what's hidden underneath Las Vegas as far as scandals and secrets mostly only the locals have heard of? Read on to discover Las Vegas secrets that many would rather have hidden than found out.
1. The Monkey Paw
Did you know that Las Vegas calls itself the Entertainment Capital of the World? Tommy Glenn Carmichael stole millions of dollars from casinos by using different methods to rig slot machines.
The one method he used was known as the monkey's paw. It was a wire that would insert through the machine's payout chute and trip the microswitch.
The machine then released a jackpot. His techniques improved as technology did. His next trick was known as the light wand. The light wand would blind the slot machine's sensor and have the machine spit out coins.
He was eventually caught by the FBI and had to serve time in jail and probation. After this, he wasn't allowed in casinos again.
2. Ron Harris
Ron Harris was a software engineer who would write anti-cheating software for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. As he was doing this, he was also placing hidden software in the coding machines. This hidden software paid out huge jackpots when players would place coins in a certain sequence.
He rigged 30 machines before he had his accomplices play the slots and walk away richer. He was eventually caught when one of his accomplices was found trying to rig a game in Atlantic City. He eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 7 years in prison.
3. The Rat Pack
The Sands Hotel and Casino experienced its last great show in 1996 when it crumbled. It was a frequent stop for the Rat Pack and Hollywood directors. It was owned by alleged mobsters such as Sheldon Adelson and Howard Hughes. In 1931, to fight the crumbling economy, gambling was legalized. After World War II a boom came to Las Vegas.
First came the restaurants and casinos in the 40s. In the 50s, more modern hotel-casinos started popping up. The Sands was one of the first hotels to be built on the strip. The biggest news for The Sands Hotel was when the Rat Pack made it their home base.
Frank Sinatra started singing in the Copa Room at The Sands. Sinatra brought celebrities and glamour to the hotel. The other Rat Packers joined him, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, and Dean Martin. They brought along celebrities from Lucille Ball, John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, to Rosemary Clooney and Lauren Bacall.
While the 50s and 60s were great for The Sands, it started losing steam. Howard Hughes eventually bought it and had dreams of expanding the property. Frank Sinatra announced that he was going to Caesars Palace. They had eventually cut off his credit because of Sinatra's debt to the hotel.
Some claim that Sinatra threw a tantrum climbing on top of the tables and screaming. Then he threw a chair at the casino boss who punched him in the face. Without Sinatra, The Sands started to suffer. It was sold by Howard Hughes to Sheldon Adelson.
Adelson decided to blow up the hotel to build the Venetian.
4. Hilton Arson
The Las Vegas Hilton had many acts from Liberace to Elvis but also had a terrible crime occur. A fire had broken out in an elevator lobby on the 8th floor. The fire consumed much of the building killing and injuring many. They eventually became suspicious of the busboy Phillip Cline.
He eventually admitted to starting the fire and claimed he did it by accident. He claimed he was smoking and the fire had gone onto the curtains. Investigators started to doubt his recalling of the events.
After this, he was convicted of arson, murder, and received a life sentence.
5. Al Bramlet Murder
The Las Vegas Culinary Worker Local 226 union was run by Al Bramlet. He was as powerful as casino owners and mobsters in the area. They represented almost all of the housekeepers, dishwashers, and waiters in the city's hotels. He not only represented his members but also used violence to go after his goals.
In this Vegas secret, he organized almost every service worker in town. A non-union gourmet restaurant was destroyed because of 2 bombs going off on its roof. Another restaurant was destroyed by a bomb a month later.
One year later, Bramlet ordered bombs to be placed in front of 2 restaurants which never exploded. They were discovered by the police. Bramlet refused to pay the hitmen Gramby and Thomas Hanley, who were father and son. This father and son duo became angry and started to plot their revenge.
They forced him into their van at gunpoint at McCarran International Airport. The Hanleys asked him to arrange payment for the bombs. Bramlet was told he would be released once they were paid.
Bramlet then arranged for a loan to pay his kidnappers. After he made the call, Tom Hanley shot Bramlet. His body was later found a few weeks later by hikers. Today, the Culinary Workers Local 226 is one of the most powerful unions in the country. They ensure the wages of the service workers are higher than the national average.
6. The Hole in the Wall Gang
You might have heard of Tony "The Ant" Spilotro. He was the main mob boss trusted to ensure millions of dollars in casinos were safe. Spilotro was hired when someone needed to be murdered. He, later on, created his own criminal business with ex-cops and thieves.
It was known as the Hole in the Wall Gang. They did loan sharking and robbed drug dealers. They got their name because they would smash a hole in the walls or ceilings of the stores they robbed to get past the alarm systems. He also operated a jewelry store known as the Gold Rush.
In the Gold Rush, he kept most of the stolen items. He was later charged with crimes related to the gang, but the jury didn't reach a verdict.
Spilotro on top of this had been having an affair with the wife of a Las Vegas mob boss, Frank Rosenthal. There was an assassination attempt on Frank Rosenthal, which the police believe Spilotro was involved in.
Spilotro and his brother went to a house in Indiana for a business meeting and met with a group of mafia hitmen. They were strangled, beaten, and buried in a cornfield. Afterward, most of the gang were given long prison terms because of racketeering or burglary.
7. A Glitch in the Machine
Some of the best-kept secrets Las Vegas are the casino glitches. One person, John Kane found a software bug in machines when he played video poker. He found a glitch in the Game King line of video poker machines. It let players replay hands with different wagers.
Kane would sit at a machine for hours betting one cent at a time. When he received a jackpot-winning hand, he replayed his hand with a maximum amount of $10 and received payouts of several thousand dollars.
Kane's friend, Andre Nestor took part in the glitch. They were arrested but were let go since federal prosecutors weren't able to justify the charges of conspiracy and hacking. His attorney argued that they pressed buttons they were legally allowed to press.
8. Kidnapping Steve Wynn's Daughter
Since casino moguls are worth billions, their families can be targets to make money. Steve Wynn received a call from someone who claimed to have kidnapped his daughter. Kevyn (Steve Wynn's daughter), had been kidnapped by 2 armed men from her home.
They asked for $2.5 million in ransom for his daughter but took $1.45 million since her father claimed that's all he had on hand. After the kidnappers picked up the money they told Wynn he could find his daughter at McCarran International Airport.
She was tied up in a car at the parking lot. One day later, the police received a big tip. A sporting club manager (Ray Cuddy) went into a car dealership to buy a Ferrari in cash. When he went to finalize everything a few days later, the FBI was there.
After Ray was arrested, his accomplice Jacob Sherwood was as well. They both received decades in prison related to the kidnapping.
Las Vegas Hidden Gems
While Las Vegas has its fair share of scandals and secrets to find out about, you won't want to miss out on what's right outside the city like The Valley of Fire. While Las Vegas attractions are exciting, you can check out the Valley of Fire State Park to see some breathtaking rock formations.
Don't miss out on this Las Vegas secret, known as Akhob. This is one of the hidden attractions in Vegas. It's underneath the Louis Vuitton store in the Las Vegas City Center. Find an employee and tell them why you're there and they'll take you to this art exhibit.
The Bootleg Canyon
Another gem is the Bootleg Canyon. It's known for its history of being a smuggling route for prohibition-era bootleggers. You can go hiking or zip-lining there.
Millennium Fandom Bar
If you're looking to have a geeky time, be sure to check out the Millenium Fandom Bar. It's right off the strip. You can find lightsaber battles and cosplayers.
Check out the container park for a kid-friendly atmosphere. You can find plenty of boutique shops and restaurants within shipping containers.
Dream Catcher Sunset Tour
If you're a fan of helicopters, don't miss out on the Dream Catcher Sunset Tour. You'll fly over the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, and the Strip.
Pahrump Valley Winery
For a winery stop, you'll want to head to Pahrump Valley Winery. It's only about an hour from the strip and is a popular destination in the area.
The LINQ Promenade
You can find this commercial strip which has over 40 attractions, restaurants, and shops. You can also check out the High Roller Observation Wheel which is part of the LINQ Hotel & Casino.
Don't miss out on seeing Absinthe at Caesar's Palace. It's Rocky Horror Picture Show meets Cirque de Soleil. This is an 18+ show where you can enjoy adult humor and acrobatics.
The Mob Museum
After learning about all these mobsters and scandals, why not check out The Mob Museum. You can see plenty of mobster memorabilia here. One such item is the wall from the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
Red Rock Canyon
When you need a break from the strip and gambling, make sure to check out the Red Rock Canyon. You can enjoy camping, geology, plants, and wildlife, along with trails for hiking.
Stop at the visitor center for information about the park. You can also check out their indoor and outdoor exhibits, along with a gift and book store. You can enjoy dozens of trails, whether you're looking to bike or hike. It's conveniently located just a few miles from Last Vegas.
It's considered within the Mojave Desert. You can enjoy limestone, red colors of the stone, and iron concretions.