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The Las Vegas Mob Experience at the Tropicana Now Open

Things to Do — By thmeeks on March 12, 2011 at 1:03 am

Take this short Mob trivia quiz:

  • Can you name the movie this line is from: “Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes”?
  • Do you know who the characters in the movie “Casino” were based upon?
  • Can you name the person that the Las Vegas Flamingo was allegedly named after?
  • Do you know who ran the Hole in the Wall Gang?

If you can answer two or more of these questions, you’ll be happy to know that the Las Vegas Mob Experience is now open. And if you can’t, then the LVME wants to make you an offer you can’t refuse.

Looking toward Lucky Luciano’s artifact room and his Studebaker.

One of two long-anticipated Mob exhibits (the other is the downtown Mob Museum, set to open later this year), the LVME is an interactive experience that takes visitors from Ellis Island to the last days of the Mob in Las Vegas. The LVME gives visitors a look at the Mob’s rise during Prohibition, its move to Vegas, and its downfall–and if you’ve seen the movie “Casino,” you know how it ends.

The interactivity of the Experience comes from RFID technology that customizes each person’s visit. You select your celebrity guide–James Caan, Frank Vincent, Mickey Rourke, Steve Schirripa or Tony Sirico–who escorts you, technologically speaking, through the exhibits. The first part of the Experience takes visitors through a maze-like section of alleys that lead to a speakeasy door and a warehouse with a hidden exit. Would-be Wise Guys get asked a few questions along the way. After you leave the warehouse, you’ll have some choices to make; for instance, you can cooperate with the mobster at the sidewalk cafe, or rat him out to the cop down the street. It’s up to you.

A central exhibit hall displays artifacts and information about well-known gangsters like Ben Siegel, Meyer Lansky, and Lucky Luciano, among others. Several families contributed personal artifacts and memorabilia to the LVME for these displays. This area also contains a small movie theater; during the first week, it was showing a film about the making of “The Godfather.”

Benjamin Siegel's personal items, including a letter to his wife, Esta

After the exhibits about the mobsters who helped create Las Vegas, the next section is devoted to the men associated with the Mafia’s last days of power in Vegas: Anthony Spilotro and Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal.

At the very end, you might get made, you might get whacked, you might get in a shootout–you might even go into the Witness Protection Program. Each visitor’s ending–kind of like the mobsters in real life–is unknown until those final moments.

A complete tour takes about 45 minutes. The LVME is still working out some of the technical issues during the preview period that began March 1. Admission until March 29 is $29.95; $39.95 after. An annual pass is $99.

Visitors should ask if all the exhibits are working before they buy a ticket. The LVME relies on the cool technology that brings the exhibits to life, and when it’s not working, the static displays are interesting, but the “wow” factor is missing.

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Photos courtesy of the Las Vegas Mob Experience

Bugsy Siegel’s 1933 Packard Limo


Tags: Las Vegas Mob Experience, Tropicana

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