A scene from the Martin Scorsese movie “Casino” was filmed in the law offices of Oscar Goodman when he was still practicing law.
Oscar was at the height of his law career, the nation’s top criminal lawyer at the time, soon to become “The Happiest Mayor in the Country” in Las Vegas. I was privileged to witness the filming.
I brought my grandson, Anthony, who was 5 at the time, to watch the filming. We go up to Oscar’s second floor offices. Anthony is having a good time playing when Robert De Niro shows up in that mint green suit.
A few moments later Scorsese arrives followed moments later by Joe Pesci. Next comes Sharon Stone with her entourage. She spots Anthony and heads right for him. She proceeds to start playing with him and making friends.
Stone was genuine, no acting. She held up the whole operation maybe 20 minutes to make goo goo with my grandson. Over the years, I always remind Anthony so he won’t forget playtime with Sharon Stone. Years later she would adopt a little boy.
The casino and sportsbook scenes in “Casino” were meant to depict Lefty Rosenthal, his wife Gerry and Anthony Spilotro. The casino scenes were mostly shot in the Riviera across the Strip from the Stardust. The sportsbook scenes were at the Jockey Club on what was near to the North end of the Strip at the time.
The Jockey Club was never granted a gaming license. What a shame because they had a magnificent idea for a sportsbook, consisting of two floors in a circular configuration. The money behind the property was from Kansas City and suspect with the Gaming Control Board. The Jockey Club became a time-share property, and the book remained a shell.
I actually toured the empty sportsbook years earlier with some money guys trying to get my exchange betting idea off the ground. It didn’t happen.
Lefty, Gerry and Anthony Spilotro are all gone. My grandson Anthony is finishing up college and working for his dad in Las Vegas, and exchange betting handles billions without me.
What happened later you couldn’t buy for all the billions in exchange betting money. Oscar literally saved our son Vincent’s life. Not from the electric chair, as I now joke with him, but from a certain death sentence from cancer.
Vincent was working at the Palace Station sportsbook in 1994. In constant pain, he was misdiagnosed in Las Vegas. Conne and I took him to UCLA where they correctly diagnosed Ewing’s Sarcoma. UCLA together with Cedars Sinai would begin treatment the next day. Because of the misdiagnosis in Las Vegas the cancer had a six-month head start and was the size of a small pie plate. Cedars and UCLA had the country’s best doctors who specialize in and treat this very rare, lethal Ewing’s. Patients worldwide came to them specifically for Ewing’s.
Conne and I were sitting in the lobby of Cedars Sinai while they completed the paper work. We now got devastating news. Our Nevada insurance wouldn’t cover this in California. Getting him treated in Nevada was a death sentence. The only doctors in the country who have even a shot at saving him are Dr. Rosen at Cedars Sinai and Dr. Eckardt at UCLA. Even working together, they only gave Vincent a 15 percent chance to survive.
Conne and I were devastated, we didn’t know what to do. I called my friend Oscar in Las Vegas from the Cedars lobby and told him of Vincent’s plight. Conne and I were returning to Las Vegas when Nadine, from the Cedars staff, came running after us. “Don’t worry. Everything’s okay. Bring Vincent in immediately, and here’s a private phone number to call if you have any trouble of any kind.”
What the hell? We found out later Oscar and one of his law partners, Marty, made a call. I know the exact words they relayed on the call but they’ll remain with me. Because of that call Vincent got the treatment that saved his life.
In an upset he beat the cancer and is now a power broker in Las Vegas commercial real estate and a big time philanthropist, giving back, especially to children’s causes.
Yesterday I saw Oscar and Pete Rose on a commercial together. Connect all those dots.
Take care, Scotty.
Scotty Schettler began his Las Vegas journey in 1968. By the time he quit the race and sports book business he had booked over $1.5 billion for different employers. He says he knows where most of the cans are buried. His book, We Were Wise Guys and Didn't Know It is available on amazon.com. Contact Scotty at [email protected]