You might say J. Michael Niotta, Ph.D., has a personal interest in the roots of gaming in Southern California and Las Vegas. His great grandfather was LA “Godfather” Jack Dragna who, along with partners like Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, helped pioneer the offshore gambling industry and the racing wire service. Many of the early casino pioneers of Las Vegas cut their teeth as part of West coast organized crime. Dr. Niotta spent a quarter century researching Southern California’s sometimes sordid past to author a history of the fascinating life of his Great Grandfather, and three other non-fiction books covering old money, bootlegging, gambling barons and Italian life in the 1940s. He recently appeared in the documentary American Mafia: The Rise and Fall of Organized Crime in Las Vegas, which covers Guy McAfee and Jack Dragna’s part in shaping early Las Vegas. Dr. Niotta has appeared as a subject matter expert on Disney+, NatGeo, and the Travel Channel and has lectured at the Las Vegas Mob Museum. His new book on the floating casinos of Southern California is due for release later this year.
J. Michael Niotta is happy to share his stories of the early history of organized crime at the Casino Collectibles Association’s 29th annual show. He will greet those attending the World’s Largest Casino Chip and Collectibles Show on day two from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday June 17, at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The show runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 16 -18, 2022.
The World’s Largest Casino Chip and Collectibles Show is open to the public and offers the
greatest collection of casino memorabilia, souvenirs and keepsakes ever assembled in a single location. Attendees will be able to browse souvenirs of nearly everything casino related, including gaming table chips, slot machines, slot cards, tokens and glass, dice, playing cards, matchbooks, menus, dinnerware, swizzle sticks, post cards, photos and more. Over 50 worldwide dealers will be on hand to offer attendees the unique opportunity to examine, buy, sell, or trade casino collectibles.
The Casino Collectibles Association is a club with over 1,000 members who passionately share the hobby of collecting and preserving the past. Show registration and admission is open to the public June 16, 10 AM – 5 PM (admission $10), June 17, 9 AM – 4 PM (admission $5) and June 18, 9 AM – 4 PM (admission is free).