Tony Spilotro

Big Names in Gambling

Tony ‘The Ant’ Spilotro

Las Vegas

Tony ‘The Ant’ Spilotro was a notorious enforcer of the Chicago crime syndicate, known as the Chicago Outfit. His task was to divert part of the wealth from lucrative casino operations in Las Vegas to the Chicago mob. However, Spilotro became a nuisance for the Chicago Outfit after he recklessly exposed himself through several violent crimes in Las Vegas. This led to the downfall of the Chicago Outfit’s influence in Las Vegas. 

The FBI suspected Tony ‘The Ant’ Spilotro of being involved in about two dozen murders in Nevada and Illinois. 

Early Life

Out of six brothers, Spilotro and four others started criminal activities in their early years. Spilotro’s first arrest was at age 17 for shoplifting. By age 21, he was arrested 13 times. Having become a hardened criminal and forging friendships with several mobsters, Tony soon rose to prominence. He was noted by the sadistic Chicago Outfit enforcer Sam “Mad Dog” Stephano, who introduced Spilotro to the crime syndicate.

Las Vegas

Tony rose to prominence with brutal murders for the Chicago mob. He was put in charge of the Chicago Outfit’s Las Vegas operations. Spilotro’s responsibility was to oversee the flow of money from Las Vegas Casinos to the Chicago Outfit. The ‘70s were a good time for the Chicago mob since they controlled several posh casinos in Las Vegas and were making a lot of money. 

Spilotro attracted the attention of law enforcement from the very start. He was suspected of murdering a real estate broker in Las Vegas in 1963. Legal proceedings started soon after but it was not until 1973 – a full decade later – when Spilotro was finally acquitted due to lack of evidence. 

In 1975 alone, Las Vegas saw more gangland violence than the last 25 years. Spilotro was suspected of being involved in several of these killings. 

Unwanted Attention

Although Spilotro was supposed to protect skimming operations in Las Vegas, he soon found that there was more money to be made through street crimes. He overstepped his authority and started burglaries, thefts and other crimes that attracted the attention of law enforcement. This proved to be a majorheadache for the Chicago Outfit since the unwanted attention from police was jeopardizing skimming operations. Tony was putting the mob’s interest at risk, thanks to his lust for personal enrichment. He, thus, started to become a liability for the mob.

Law enforcement pressed several cases against Spilotro for his involvement in burglaries and larcenies. With the help of good lawyers, he won all of these cases. There was not a single conviction. However, the damage had been done. Since Spilotro was the frontman for the mob, he brought their influence in Las Vegas to the fore. He had to be taken out before he did any more damage to the Chicago Outfit’s interests. 


The Chicago Outfit had enough of Tont the ‘Ant’ Spilotro and under the pretense of making him a Made Guy, they lured Spilotro and his brother to a meeting in a Chicago basement. The two were wacked out instead, then driven out to a cornfield and buried with only their underwear in Enos, Indiana.

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