Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Gary Gilbert Ph.D

Reader 2

David Stein Ph.D

OCLC Record Number



Jews created modern Las Vegas. They pioneered the Vegas gaming industry and founded Las Vegas as one of the leading leisure destinations of America. The foundational players in the creation of Las Vegas weren’t just Jewish businessmen, but Jewish mobsters from the East Coast. It was a unique phenomenon that took place in post-World War II Las Vegas where a group of organized criminals developed a city. This is a direct result of Jews’ domination and expansion of the gaming industry in Vegas.[1] This doesn’t mean that Vegas was founded by Jews because it wasn’t, the town was created as a mining town by several Anglo-Saxon Protestants in the 19th century, notably William Andrews Clark from Pennsylvania. [2]Nonetheless, these mobster pioneers transformed Vegas into the city it is today. Mobster pioneers involvement in the casino gold rush in post-World War II Las Vegas represented a purely Western Jewish American Experience.

[1] Simich, Jerry L., and Thomas C. Wright, Green Michael, The Peoples of Las Vegas: One City, Many Faces. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press, 2005, pg. 164

[2] Eugene P Morgan and Michael S Green. Las Vegas: A Centennial History. Pg. 9

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.