Popular Culture Review Vol. 28, No. 2, Summer 2017 - Page 117

with the new government, and casinos were temporarily reopened, ostensibly to protect the jobs of their 4,000 workers. However, the reopenings were short-lived. The casinos closed for good (under the Castro regime) in late 1960. Castro’s frontal attack on the Mob and its casino interests in Havana had political consequences in the United States, where the Central Intelligence Agency planned the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion to overthrow Castro and also may have contracted with organized crime operatives to attempt to assassinate the new leader. The fall of the Batista regime and the end of Cuban casinos had repercussions throughout the gaming industry. Nevada lost its strongest competitive market, and Cuban operatives and owners had to move. The ones that could be licensed went to Las Vegas, as did many of the dealers and other casino workers. Others had to find unregulated or under-regulated jurisdictions. Haiti and the Dominican Republic were close at hand, as was The Bahamas. Most of the gaming entrepreneurs in these jurisdictions had Cuban experiences, as did many who went to London to open casinos after 1960 legislation gave unregulated charity gaming halls a green light. Lansky, George Raft, and Dino Cellini were principals in London’s Colony Club until they were expelled from the country. Former Nevada lieutenant governor Cliff Jones of Las Vegas had been active in Cuba. He had made a choice between Nevada gaming and f oreign gaming when the “foreign gaming” rule was adopted in Nevada (the rule prohibited Nevada casino licensees from having casinos outside of the state). He chose to be involved in foreign gaming and therefore could not return to Las Vegas. Instead, Jones began campaigns in one small country after another to legalize casinos and then began operations that he would later sell to (or share with) local parties for high profits. Clearly, the activity of Castro in closing down Havana gaming caused a major spread of gaming elsewhere. The Cuban national lottery, closed in 1959, was permitted to resume operations by Castro. At first Castro allowed the creation of a savings bond lottery, under which all bettors kept their initial wager, but they were paid lottery win prizes instead of interest on their investment. Interest in casinos for Cuba persists as many casino companies eagerly await the passing of Fidel Castro. However, even under his regime, in 2013, a casino cruise ship from Canada was allowed to make port in Havana. Current interest in having new Cuban casinos has a definite Florida touch in that nearby American state casino gaming has begun with both Native American reservation casinos as well 112