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November 19, 2021 26 min

This story of Los Angeles’ 1930s era of gambling boats — and Tony Cornero, the underworld boss at the center of the action — is a portal to another version of the city, one that’s glamorous and seedy. Business reporter Daniel Miller spent months chasing down the tale, poring over FBI records, reviewing newspaper accounts and interviewing the few people alive who remember when barges bobbing off the coast of Santa Monica offered the chance at a sea-sprayed jackpot. He tells us about this world of water-cannon gangsters and floating vice dens — which paved the way for the popularity of Las Vegas and dramatically met its end 82 years ago this month.

More reading:

The secret history of L.A.’s glitzy gambling boat kingpin — and the raid that sank him

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