MATE 013 – Bill Friedman reveals the business principles of Las Vegas gangsters

Bill Friedman has spent his entire adult life working in and around the Las Vegas casino business, alongside the gangsters who built the Las Vegas Strip. He has spent countless hours interviewing members of The Mafia, researching their histories and building a picture of the gambling industry in America. In this fascinating conversation, Bill shares the stories and lessons learned from the gangsters of Las Vegas.

  1. Part 1: Bill Friedman’s background and the gangster history of Las Vegas
  2. Part 2: Casino management and how casinos are designed to keep players focused on gambling
  3. Part 3: The marketing and business lessons learned from how gangsters operated their Las Vegas casinos
Bill Friedman
Bill Friedman



  • Bill Friedman explains how he got involved in the casino business
  • The legalisation of gambling in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • Bill’s fascination with gangsters, their business ethics and how he socialised with them.
  • Objecting to his drafting in the Vietnam War and being questioned by the FBI
  • Hollywood’s misrepresentation of The Mob
  • Bill’s research with the School of Criminology at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • What is Casino Management?
  • The unique ways casinos are designed and how they are conducive to enticing gamblers to play
  • Personalised service, giving customers what they want and the many ways casinos reward high-rollers.
  • The real reason casino chips are used at the tables instead of cash
  • How Frank Woolworth pioneered retail merchandising
  • Despite similar names, Woolworths Limited in Australia has no affiliation with the F.W. Woolworth Company in the United States.
  • The benefits intimate casinos enjoy
  • An analysis of the very successful, “What Happens in Vegas, Stays Here.” tourism advertising campaign.
  • Why people gamble
  • How Bill produced huge profits for the Castaways and Silver Slipper casinos
  • How differentiating your product from the competition can be more beneficiary than mimicking their traits
  • The creative and outlandish marketing campaigns Bill implemented to capture the attention of the casino-going public




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MATE podcast is a show about Marketing, Advertising, Technology and Entrepreneurship. Hosted by Adam Jaffrey: Digital Strategist and Entrepreneur. Made with ❤ in Melbourne, Australia.

MATE podcast is a production by branded podcast agency Wavelength Creative.

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