A guaranteed winning gambler with Mafia ties.
He also proved over-and-over that his business since would always prove to be a money-maker. He was the first to bring sports gambling to the casinos, he was the first to bring women dealers to the tables -- he was basically nothing short of a marketing genius.
Rosenthal had control of four different hotels on the Las Vegas strip and despite who was the front-man of the operation he was the true man behind closed doors that ran the show.
His rise to being one of the most powerful people in Las Vegas during the 1970's was cut short after 14 years due to numerous problems. His gangster pal Nicky "The Ant" Spilotro, who was sent out to Vegas by the mob to watch his back, was having an affair with his ex-wife, show girl, Geri McGee. And the fact that Spilotro was constantly in the news for illegal activities -- Rosenthal association with him constantly hunted him. His wife had drug and alcohol problems and was causing him more hassles than he needed, he basically lost control of what was a perfect set up.
The whole reason he was out there in the first place was because he was under the Mafia's control. The Mafia was skimming money off the top of what the Casino made, illegally, but as long as Rosenthal was in control, the profits would stay large and the skim would easily go unnoticed.
In a place like Las Vegas, you can't stay at the top forever.Rosenthal was having a problem with getting a gambling license, which he needed to be an acting boss in the casinos and hotels legally. To fight back against the gambling board that wouldn't give him a gambling license due to his mafia and illegal gambling past, he created his own T.V. talk show. The show invited many celebrities - O.J. Simpson, Wayne Newton, Frank Sinatra and the list goes on. But secretly he was looking to use the talk show to fire back against the gaming commission for strong arming him on his gaming license - two birds with one stone, plenty of marketing for his hotels and casinos and lots of bad mouthing the gaming commission and calling them out for screwing him over.
The Mafia was not happy with this exposure and asked "Lefty" many times to knock the antics off for it was bringing too much bad publicity to the very reason they had him out their in the first place, "The Skim".
But not only was the Mafia getting fed up with his antics, so was law enforcement. With his connection to notorious gangster-murderer Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, the FBI came down hard on the skim, the Mafia connections, and "The Whole in the Wall Gang" ran by the "The Ant" Spilotro and his gangster pals. After 14 years of being on top, Lefty would finally be muscled out of what he called paradise, Las Vegas.
On the evening of Oct. 4, 1982, Lefty Rosenthal, the talented mob connected professional gambler, walked out of Tony Roma’s restaurant on East Sahara Avenue to his Cadillac. His car was bugged with a bomb and it exploded with him in it. Although he survived, that was his message, get out-of-town.
"Lefty", retired to Miami where he continued his career as a gambler. No one was ever prosecuted on the bombing, but it's widely speculated who was behind it, The Mafia.
"Lefty" died on October 13, 2008 at the age of 79.
As for the Mafia's skim and the power they had in Las Vegas.
By 1980, law enforcement would have them pretty much ran out-of-town. Although in a place like Las Vegas, there will always be some illegal activity, but the pull that the Mafia used to have in Vegas is not even close to what it was.
"Lefty" was a legend and will always be remembered for his ability to pick the winners in any sport. He knew how to run a successful casino/hotel operation like a scientist - he loved show girls and topless dancers and his deep Mafia ties made him extremely powerful and dangerous.