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Moe Dalitz

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Moe Dalitz

Moe Dalitz
Born December 25, 1899
Boston, Massachusetts
Died August 31, 1989(1989-08-31) (aged 89)
Occupation Businessman
Spouse(s) Averill Dalitz
Children Suzanne Dalitz

Morris Barney Dalitz (December 25, 1899 – August 31, 1989 ), known as Moe Dalitz, was an American gangster,[1][2] businessman, casino owner and philanthropist. He was one of the major figures who shaped Las Vegas, Nevada in the 20th century. He was often referred to as "Mr. Las Vegas."[3]


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Philanthropy 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Death 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7

Early life

Morris Barney Dalitz was born on December 25, 1899 in Boston, Massachusetts to a Jewish family. He grew up in Michigan.

He worked in his family's laundry business early on, but began his career in [6]

With the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, Dalitz turned to gambling and operated illegal but protected casinos in Steubenville, Ohio, and Covington, Ky. He enlisted in the Army in World War II and rose in rank from private to first lieutenant.[7]


His investments in Las Vegas began in the late 1940s with the Desert Inn. When the original builder of the resort, Wilbur Clark, ran out of money, Dalitz and the Cleveland Mayfield Road Gang bailed him out.[8] The casino opened in 1950. Clark remained the public face and frontman of the resort; Dalitz quietly remained in the background as the real owner. He also ran the Stardust Resort & Casino for a time after the death of Tony Cornero. Dalitz owned the Desert Inn until 1967, when he sold it to businessman Howard Hughes. The last casino that Dalitz owned was the Sundance Hotel Casino, later renamed the Fitzgerald,[9] and most recently, The D Las Vegas.

With Allard Roen, Irwin Molasky and Merv Adelson, he founded Paradise Development, a real estate development company in the 1950s.[10] Together, they founded the Sunrise Hospital, The Boulevard Mall and the Las Vegas Country Club.[10] Later, they co-founded the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California.[10]

In a 1983 SUN interview, Dalitz said he considered construction of the Las Vegas Convention Center to be his greatest achievement. "Las Vegas used to be just a gambling town. Now we are a resort destination. The Convention Center complements our purpose," he said.[11]


In 1982, Dalitz received the "Torch of Liberty" award from the Anti-Defamation League. It was presented by comedian Joan Rivers.[3]

Personal life

Dalitz was married to Averill Dalitz and they had one daughter, Suzanne.[9] They lived in Las Vegas, New York, Mexico and Switzerland.


At 2:00AM PST on August 31, 1989, Moe Dalitz died. He had been seriously ill since 1986. Death was attributed to congestive heart failure, chronic hypertension and kidney failure. He also suffered from failing eyesight. Services were held September 5, 1989 at Congregation Ner Tamid.[7]


  1. ^ The Unlikely, Still-Ongoing Journey of the Late Moe Dalitz, Suzanne Dalitz, Vegas Seven, 9 April 2014
  2. ^ "Moe Dalitz," John L. Smith, Las Vegas Review Journal, 7 Feb 1999
  3. ^ a b Balboni, Alan (1999). "Moe Dalitz: Controversial Founding Father of Modern Las Vegas". In Davies, Richard O. The Maverick Spirit: Building the New Nevada. Wilbur S. Shepperson series in history and humanities.  
  4. ^  
  5. ^ Narvaez, Alfonso (September 1, 1989). "Reporter". New York Times. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  6. ^ Thompson, William Norman (2001). Author. Santa Barbra, CA: ABC-CLIO. pp. 83–85.  
  7. ^ a b Hyman, Harold (September 1, 1989). "Reporter". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  8. ^ Koch, Ed; Manning, Mary (May 15, 2008). "Reporter". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Hyman, Herbert (September 1, 1989). "Las Vegas gaming pioneer ‘Moe’ Dalitz dies at 89".  
  10. ^ a b c Ed Koch, Desert Inn, Stardust chief helped integrate Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas Sun, September 1, 2008
  11. ^ Hyman, Howard (September 1, 1989). "Las Vegas gaming pioneer ‘Moe’ Dalitz dies at 89". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 

Further reading

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