What Is The Nevada Black Book and How Did It Come To Be?

The Nevada Black Book is officially known as the Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB) Excluded Person List. It is the type of list you don’t want your name to end up on.

The book, which isn’t actually a book anymore, is a lineup of individuals. Their actions, mainly involving organized crimes or illegal activities, have led to their permanent exclusion from the state’s gambling establishments.

People refer to this list as the “Black Book” because those on the list are pretty much banned from any gambling establishment within the region. Therefore, stepping into a casino can be a crime once you’re on the list.

It’s not just the individuals who face the consequences; even a casino can get into trouble if they allow a Black Book member to gamble on their premises.

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The Origins of the Nevada Black Book

In 1960, the Nevada Gaming Control Board took a major step. It addressed concerns about organized crime infiltrating the booming casino scene of the state.

Las VEgas night
When some things happen in Vegas, you stay away.

Fearing potential federal intervention and wanting to safeguard the gambling industry in Nevada, the Gaming Control Board released an initial list.

It included eleven individuals deemed to have a “notorious and unsavory reputation.”

The makeshift publication, bound together with scotch tape, they called the “Black Book” due to the color of its binding.

The intention was clear: to exclude those considered a threat to the public confidence and trust in the gambling industry’s integrity.

The Black Book currently now features 36 names (April 2024). It goes to all state-licensed gaming establishments including mugshots, FBI file numbers, physical descriptions, and various aliases associated with the listed individuals.

Responding to a complaint about its original title being perceived as racist, the authorities officially renamed it “The List of Excluded Persons” in 1975. Along with this change, the book traded its original binding for a silver cover.

Members of the Nevada Black Book

Now, here is the exciting part! To be on this list, you would have needed to be perceived as a very dangerous person in the gambling sphere.

The manner in which you could end up in the book can vary, but either way, you don’t end up on this list through bad luck. Here are some of the most popular members you can find in the Nevada Black Book:

Archie Karas

Archie Karas, also known as Anargyros Karabourniotis, earned his place in the Nevada Black Book in 2015 due to a series of actions that posed a significant threat to the integrity of the gaming industry.

Karas gained notoriety in the early 90s for his remarkable winning streak, famously turning $50 into $40 million in what became known as “The Run.”

However, his gambling exploits were marred by legal troubles, particularly involving allegations of cheating at blackjack tables. In 2013, Karas was arrested and later found guilty of cheating at the Barona Casino near San Diego. There, he used tiny amounts of black dye to mark high-value cards.

With four previous arrests in Las Vegas for cheating at blackjack, the Nevada Gaming Control Board voted unanimously in September to impose a lifetime ban on the 64-year-old.

Tasia Musa

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Tasia Musa was a South African-born individual. He is in the Nevada Black Book due to his involvement in a series of fraudulent activities that mainly went under the radar.

Details of his specific violations aren’t public or in the media. The Nevada Gaming Control Board unanimously voted to include Musa in the Black Book.

The decision came after commissioners heard about Musa’s numerous convictions related to gambling-related crimes.

John Vaccaro

John Vaccaro secured his spot in the Nevada Black Book for orchestrating the most significant slot-fixing scam in casino history. His wife, Sandra Kay Vaccaro, the only woman listed in the Las Vegas Black Book, was also active in this con.

Together, the Vaccaros successfully swindled millions of dollars from Nevada state casinos. The magnitude of their scheme led the Nevada Gaming Control Board to include both John and Sandra Kay Vaccaro in the Black Book.

Louis Tom Dragna

Louis Tom Dragna was already in the original Nevada Black Book. He is the only member to retain his position to this day.

In his time, he was recognized as the alleged boss of the Los Angeles organized crime family. He held a vast arrest record dating back to 1946, as reported by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Tony Spilotro

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Tony Spilotro, famously known as ‘The Ant,’ earned his place in the Nevada Black Book. This was mainly due to a history of attempting to intimidate casino staff.

A well-known figure in organized crime, the authorities closely monitored Spilotro’s activities. This led to the decision to add him to the Black Book.

Spilotro’s notoriety later rose to immortality in the 1995 Martin Scorsese film, “Casino”. The character ‘Nicky’ is inspired by his exploits.

If you are in the Black Book

One more thing about the Nevada Black Book. Like we said, you don’t want to be in there, but once you are, it’s there forever.

Being mentioned in the Black Book means being there for live, and that comes with a life long casino ban.

Edit 19 April, 2024:

Neal Ahmed Hearne becomes no 37

Neal Ahmed Hearne Nevada Black Book
Neal Ahmed Hearne.

Neal Ahmed Hearne is now the 37th “member” of the Nevada Black Book. The Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) came to the conclusion of adding his name to the list after a hearing on Tuesday.

Hearne has been repeatedly caught stealing chips from other players. On one case, video surveillance showed him approaching a Blackjack table, grabbing a bunch of chips and then darting off.

During the hearing, a discussion ensued about how many times somebody has to be caught stealing chips to enter him to the Black Book, as this has never previously been defined.

The commission, however, avoided setting a number of cases as Hearne already had previous instances of being banned and of problems with the law in Nevada.

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