‘Casino’ Inspiration “Lefty” Rosenthal’s Bulletproof House Set for Sale in Las Vegas

Posted on: November 16, 2020, 08:41h. 

Last updated on: November 16, 2020, 11:43h.

The Las Vegas residence once belonging to Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, the iconic casino boss associated with organized crime figures and the inspiration for the movie Casino is close to being sold.

The house has bulletproof windows and doors
Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal testifies before the Senate Investigations Committee in a 1961 organized gambling inquiry. A buyer is ready to purchase his former home in Las Vegas. (Image: AP)

The home is adjacent to the Las Vegas Country Club and was listed late last month. It recently went under contract with a buyer, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported last week.

Asking price on the 3,266-square-foot, 50-year-old residence was $835,000. The closing is planned for Dec 4.

The two-story house was home to Rosenthal while he ran Las Vegas casinos for the Chicago mob. That may explain some of its amenities.

Windows and doors are bulletproof. One window is still indented from where it was struck by a bullet.

The house is really kind of the Fort Knox of Las Vegas,” said Brian Burns of Synergy-Sotheby’s International Realty in a blog run by The Mob Museum of Las Vegas. “He was trying not to be killed by the mob and trying not to be heard by the FBI.”

The house also once had an underground tunnel that led to a neighboring residence. The home is also soundproof.

Lefty, Geri Had Wild Arguments in House

The residence was the setting for several volatile events. Some were included in the “Casino” movie.

For instance, Lefty Rosenthal and his wife, Geri, had lively disputes there. Once, she pointed a gun at him in their bedroom and another time Geri pulled out a firearm when the pair were arguing in the front yard.

In the second instance, Nancy Spilotro, who was married to Tony Spilotro — who was associated with the Chicago Outfit and was known as “Tony the Ant” — was able to push Geri to the ground and grab the gun away. That’s despite the fact Nancy was only about five feet tall and weighed around 100 pounds.

Former Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman, who was also an attorney and represented Lefty Rosenthal, often visited the house to meet with his client. When Rosenthal was in trouble during the 1970s, Lefty wore silk pajamas during those morning meetings.

Art Imitating Life

Even so, the two-story house sounds like a typical upscale suburban residence. It has three bedrooms, as well as two-and-a-half baths. Expansive windows face the golf course.

But the occupants were not the typical residents of a gated country club community. Lefty Rosenthal was associated with several reputed mobsters.

In the movie, Robert De Niro played the character, Frank “Ace” Rothstein, who was based on Rosenthal. Tony Spilotro was the inspiration for Nicky Santoro, a character in the movie played by Joe Pesci.

Sharon Stone played Ginger McKenna in the movie, with that character based on Geri Rosenthal. Don Rickles — himself a Las Vegas fixture — also starred in the movie as Rosenthal sidekick Billy Sherbert.

The film was directed by Martin Scorsese.  The house shown in the movie is not the actual house in which Rosenthal lived. Scorsese used another residence in Las Vegas that is adjacent to another golf course.

As the years continued, Rosenthal was banned from Las Vegas casinos. He was listed in the “Black Book,” and in 1983, Rosenthal left Las Vegas. He died in 2008 while living in Miami Beach.

Several owners have lived in the house since then. But Lefty Rosenthal’s memory continues.

Rosenthal Left Mark on Vegas

“There is no question … Rosenthal left his mark on Las Vegas,” Geoff Schumacher said. “If you set aside the organized crime drama for a moment, Rosenthal designed and opened at the Stardust the first sportsbook as we know them today.”

In fact, smoked mirrors in Rosenthal’s former house are rumored to have come from the Stardust casino.

To mark the 25th anniversary Thursday of the film Casino, The Mob Museum will present a discussion featuring movie screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, who also wrote the book Casino. Oscar Goodman will also take part.

The in-person event is sold out. But The Mob Museum has also kicked off a special exhibit featuring artifacts, memorabilia, and rare photographs from the movie.