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‘I give the public what the public wants’: How Al Capone established a gambling underworld

One thing Chicagoans consistently crave is satisfaction of their fascination with gambling, notes Joseph Epstein, a retired Northwestern University professor and student of local mores.

So, as dice start to roll legally in the Windy City, we’re looking back at the city’s underworld history. The Chicago Tribune’s archives are replete with accounts of the illicit gambling and casinos over the decades when Al Capone and Chicago were synonymous the world over. Entrepreneurial hoods saw the potential windfall from running gambling operations. Dividing the loot often led to violence.

Scarface
Al Capone (1899 – 1947) signing Uncle Sam’s $50,000 bail bond in the Federal Building, Chicago. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

[ Read the story: As dice start to roll legally in Chicago, a look back at the city’s underworld gambling history ]

[ More: Al Capone’s final days, death in Florida and burial in Chicago – and why we remember it ]

Capone, for one, inherited criminal enterprises in Chicago and then established a dynasty of casinos. Besides muscle and money, Capone used his talent for public relations to deflect attacks on his brazen disregard for the law.

“I give the public what the public wants,” he once told a reporter.

Take a deep dive into the historic photos and the look-back by Tribune’s Ron Grossman here.

Contributing: Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune


Source: Berkshire mont

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