Mob mix-up

When casinos opened in Atlantic City in 1978, New Jersey governor Brendan Byrne famously warned organized crime to keep their stinking paws off of his state. Well, those weren’t his exact words, but they would have been in Charlton Heston had been playing him. Come to think of it, Byrne wasn’t going around half-naked either, so I guess the Planet of the Apes reference doesn’t really work.

To make sure that organized crime remained out of the state’s lucrative casino gaming business, strict controls were enacted. Those deemed unacceptable were placed on the list of undesirable persons and excluded. It works fine, until you exclude the wrong person.

From ABC News:

It was a simple case of mistaken identity, and it nearly cost a casino $25,000.

New Jersey casino regulators, who had fined the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa for letting a banned gambler stay overnight, rescinded the penalty Wednesday, admitting that it was the son of reputed mobster Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso, not Casso himself, who checked in and played table games at the casino one night in 2003.

It couldn’t have been Casso, regulators learned after imposing the fine two months ago: He’s doing life in a federal prison.

“We all make mistakes,” said Casino Control Commission member Michael Fedorko.

The incident stemmed from Casso’s status on the commission’s “exclusion list,” a blacklist of 171 people deemed to be bad influences on Atlantic City casinos and banned from entering them.

Casso, 64, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was a suspected street boss in the Lucchese family organization who was added to the list in 1990. He was captured in 1993 and pleaded guilty to murder and racketeering charges in 1994 after turning government witness. He is serving a life sentence at the Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colo.

Reputed Mobster’s Son in Casino Mix-Up

I like the fact that, even after pleading guilty to murder and racketeering, you aren’t considered an official mobster, but only a reputed one. It seems like an honest enough mistake, but you’ve got to wonder why there was no notice in Casso’s file that, barring an escape from his Colorado prison, he shouldn’t be considered a likely casino guest.

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