Welcome to the official site for the Dunes Hotel-Casino book. We built this site to update, add, correct and to continue providing research and information about the Dunes Hotel & Country Club. No matter how big or how small your interest in the Dunes Hotel, this is the place for your antedotes, stories and inside information that contributes to the history of the Dunes.
There were eight major management combines that operated the
Dunes Hotel during its existence. The operators all were showmen and
literally geniuses in their endeavors to please their guests. These hospitality and gaming pioneers deserve to be remembered for their monumental contribution to Las Vegas. They were real gamblers, not penny ante pencil pushers. They had good common sense and fine-tuned the operation without the aid of computers and social media tools. They had hearts of gold and never turned away someone who was down on their luck.
They created a flagship property coined the “Miracle in the Desert” and
the “Miracle Mile.” It was THE place to gamble and have a great time.
There will never be another hotel as great as the Dunes Hotel & Country
Club was when these operators had control of the property.
Charles J. Rich, George Duckworth, Sidney “Sid” Wyman, Howard
“Howie” Engel, Dave “Butch” Goldstein, James “Jake” Gottlieb, Major
Riddle, Robert “Bob” Rice, Bill Miller, Morris Shenker, and many others,
including the numerous fine, hard-working employees, were part of a special brotherhood at this charmed resort.
The intent behind this book is to record the history that would
be lost forever if not memorialized. It spans from the Dunes’ inception
to the final implosion of the fabled gaming mecca. For this project, I researched the subject exhaustively and created a story timeline that took nearly three years to complete. It’s a story of good and bad, fierce loyalty and bitter betrayal, underhanded scheming and swindling, and much more.
In capturing the true story of the Dunes, I had to cross over into the
history of some of the other classic Las Vegas hotel-casinos because many of the Dunes operators and associates were connected to these other operations.
There is no question that some of these connections, no matter
how tenuous, were with the Mob. By “Mob,” I mean the Mafia, La Cosa
Nostra, the Outfit (Chicago), and the National Syndicate. A common
thread links all of these early Las Vegas Strip operations with many of the
Dunes operators. What I discovered astonished me, even after being very
close to the Dunes situation.
So when I drill down to the particulars and the associates of an individual,
it may seem like I am deviating from the Dunes story, which is not the
case. As I researched and fleshed out new leads, I discovered a new name
associated with Mr. Wyman, for instance. This new person opened up another set of doors to enter, beyond which I found additional stories
that heretofore were unknown to me.
A final consideration I had regarding writing this book was that if
I were to pass before finishing it, the real story of the Dunes would be
lost forever. Hence, I decided to tell it while I’m still able. Doors that I
open here, questions that are raised but not fully answered, well, they will
be here waiting for the next researcher and writer who care to deep dive
down the rabbit hole and explore the labyrinthine world that was Vintage