Land of the Spree and Home of the Slave
by Revilo P. Oliver
A CUTTING FROM one of the carpetbagger papers in Atlanta, sent to me without notation of date, reproduces a despatch by the Associated Press from Las Vegas with the news that the proprietor of the Imperial Palace, one of the great casinos on the famous Strip, was amerced in the amount of $1,500,000 by the State of Nevada and placed on probation under surveillance. His crime was having displayed “Nazi memorabilia” in his casino and having held a party on the birthday of Adolf Hitler.
For this atrocious crime the guilty wretch could, of course, have been punished severely. The Imperial Palace could have been locked up by the police, as was originally intended, its owner could have had imposed on him a fine greater than his net worth, and he could then have been put in jail until he paid what he could not pay. But the commissars were merciful.
The fine was reduced to the modest sum of $1,500,000 and the criminal escaped severe penalties because he evinced remorse, threw himself on the mercy of the commissars, and humbly apologized for having so insolently thought the United States was still an American nation. He was even permitted to continue his business and earn his livelihood while the police watch him to make sure of his obedience to God’s Law.
When will the stupid Americans learn that, in the country they gave away, they have kept only the precious freedom to do whatever the Sacred Sheenies tell them to do?
The thralls should not presume on the leniency their masters have thus far shown. It is a question of expediency. You see, if the Imperial Palace had been burned to the ground, its owner dispatched to Jerusalem for torture and eventual execution, the homes of all persons so depraved that they patronized such a den of iniquity dynamited, and the homeless sinners beaten, crippled, and blinded by U.S. soldiers, the Aryan serfs, stupid as they are, might have become restless and even insubordinate. The evil Palestinians are giving enough trouble now, so, until the Semites in the Near and Middle East have been put in their place, it is deemed expedient to be indulgent to Americans who sin against the Holy Race. If they are contrite, they may even be permitted to retain possession of property, which, according to God’s Law as stated in the Holy Talmud, naturally belongs to God’s Race.
It will probably be ten years, or even a little more, before the Lord’s Chosen are ready to get tough with their tax-paying animals.
Las Vegas Journal; Nevada Draws the Line: No Hitler in the Casinos
Ever sensitive about their city’s reputation, business leaders here are glad the Engelstad affair is finally over. Ralph Engelstad, a casino and hotel operator, agreed recently to pay $1.5 million in fines and damages and promised not to hold any more birthday parties for Adolf Hitler.
What was so unusual about the fine, the second largest ever imposed by the Nevada gaming authorities, was that it was not for any of the usual gambling sins, like skimming or loading the dice. Rather, the gaming board said in February that Mr. Engelstad had damaged Nevada’s image by glorifying Hitler and the Third Reich at his Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino on the glittery Las Vegas Strip.
As if the Engelstad matter weren’t enough, the casino industry got another black eye in March, when a Federal court jury awarded $38.8 million to 36 blackjack dealers who had been dismissed by the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel, saying the dealers had been fired because they were too old.
Last year, local news reports disclosed that Mr. Engelstad had a secret room full of Nazi memorabilia, including murals of Hitler and a painting of Mr. Engelstad dressed in Nazi uniform. He also threw two birthday parties for the Nazi leader, in 1986 and 1988, and owns automobiles used by German and Japanese leaders in World War II.
Mr. Engelstad denied being a Nazi sympathizer, saying that his interest was purely historical and that the Hitler festivities were just ”theme” parties to boost employee morale. The Nevada Gaming Control Board did not see it that way.
”The charge was honoring and glorifying Hitler,” said Gerald H. Cunningham, a board member. ”It was an improper act which affected the reputation of the State of Nevada.”
But others here wondered if Nevada’s reputation was all that glossy to begin with. A columnist for The Las Vegas Review-Journal, John L. Smith, put it this way: ”This state is the American home of nuclear weapons explosions, legalized gambling, upstanding gangsters, all-night carousing, legalized prostitution and the International Brotherhood of Elvis Impersonators. The Federal Government thinks so much of us it is going to build a nuclear waste dump here. All we need is a bad tie and goggle eyes and we are the Rodney Dangerfield of states.”
And some asked, too, whether Mr. Engelstad’s constitutional rights of free speech, no matter how repugnant the expression, were being violated.
While denying that he had glorified Hitler, Mr. Engelstad agreed to the fine and nine restrictions on his license to avoid a full-blown inquiry that could have resulted in revocation of his gaming license, the ultimate calamity in Nevada.
Mr. Engelstad’s public relations man, Alan Hilburg, said the casino owner would not agree to an interview. ”He’s a very private guy, very quiet,” Mr. Hilburg said. ”This issue is behind him – leave this guy alone.” He suggested that the source of Mr. Engelstad’s problems was some disgruntled former employees who spread rumors about him in the press.
The Jewish community remains equivocal. ”After all was said and done, we felt the man was punished as much as possible,” said Norman Kaufman, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas. But, he added, ”We will not go into his hotel.” The acting Governor of Nevada, Bob Miller, a Democrat, said in an interview that he hoped to use the $1.5 million fine for a Holocaust education fund, perhaps for an international conference on the matter.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas tongues are wagging over another gaming matter, the $38.8 million verdict that the blackjack dealers won on March 8 against the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel, which summarily discharged them in 1983. The trial shed rare light on the inner workings of casinos.
The plaintiffs, all older men, were dismissed after nine months in which the casino’s take from the blackjack table was abnormally low. Normally, the casino expects its win percentage to run about 18 to 21 percent of bets; the take then was averaging 12.8 percent. The men were quickly replaced by young women.
Hilton officials maintained that the industry tradition under which anyone can be dismissed at will was essential, given the chances of cheating. Though no proof was offered that the men cheated, that was the implication. ”You have to understand the nature of our business,” testified Barron Hilton, chairman of the Hilton Hotels Corporation. ”We have a tremendous amount of cash. You have to make decisions. When there’s a problem, you have to act.”
Brian K. Berman, attorney for the dealers, accused the hotel of age and sex discrimination, breach of contract, bad faith discharge and intentional infliction of emotional distress. If there was cheating, he argued, it was a scheme in which management was diverting money on its way to the tables.
”The jury was trying to send a message to the casino industry that they cannot fire at will as they have historically done,” Mr. Berman said. Hilton, which is also facing charges by the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said it planned to appeal.
* * *