Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
Today is November 4, and it was on this day in 1928 that legendary gambler and mob figure Arnold Rothstein was murdered while playing poker at the Park Central hotel in Manhattan. Rothstein was Jewish so he could not actually become a part of the American Mafia but many of the Mafia figures in the 1920’s worked with him to make money.
Rothstein was a gambler from an early age by playing dice games and was being groomed to take over his father's legitimate business but decided to go a different route and used his father's connections to further his empire of illegal gambling and bootlegging during prohibition. He opened an illegal gambling casino in New York City and invested in a horse race track in Havre de Grace, Maryland. He reputedly fixed many of the horse races to make money and by the time he turned thirty years old, Arnold Rothstein was a millionaire. Rothstein had deep pockets and paid a lot of money to people who gave him valuable information and also used his money to buy off the police, judges and politicians. Some of his known associates were Charles “Lucky” Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Joe Masseria and even Al Capone.
Arnold Rothstein’s biggest claim to fame, one he denied in public and to a grand jury, was when he reportedly had fixed the 1919 World Series by paying off members o the Chicago White Sox to lose the game and bet a lot of money against them. “Shoeless” Joe Jackson of the White Sox played an outstanding game and said he was not part of the soon to be called “Black Sox Scandal”, but was still implicated in it and ruined his career. Although Rothstein denied being a part of the scandal, it was said that he didn’t deny it among friends.
His murder was said to have happened because he was recently in a three-day-long gambling binge and lost around $320,000 but refused to pay because he said the game was fixed. On his deathbed, Rothstein refused to say who shot him and said “Me mudder did it.” He kept the oath of silence right up to his last breath. Arnold Rothstein was buried in Union Field Cemetery in Ridgewood, New York in an Orthodox Jewish service.
Ten years after his death Arnold Rothstein’s brother had declared that his estate bankrupt and that Rothstein's money had disappeared. Arnold Rothstein was most recently portrayed in the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire.”