The Italian ocean liner S.S. Rex.
The Los Angeles gambling ship S.S. Rex.
The other S.S. Rex – a gambling ship off Santa Monica, California in the 1930s and early 1940s.
Besides the fabulous Italian ocean liner S.S. REX launched in 1931, there was another S.S. REX. The far lesser (but profitable) SS REX was operated as a gambling ship off Los Angeles by Anthony Cornero. Gary Grant made a movie in the early 1930s based on the gambling boats.
During his varied criminal career, he bootlegged liquor into Los Angeles, ran gambling ships in international waters, and eventually operated casinos in Las Vegas.
Los Angeles Times advertisement.
In 1938, Cornero decided to open a shipboard gaming operation off the Southern California coast. Sailing in international waters, Cornero would be able to run his gambling dens without interference from U.S. authorities or the Cosa Nostra.
Gambling aboard Cornero’s off-shore ships.
Cornero purchased two ships (more like barges) and converted them into casinos at a cost of $300,000. He named the ships the SS Rex and the SS Tango.
The S. S. Tango.
Cornero’s premier cruise ship was the SS Rex, which could accommodate over 2,000 gamblers. It carried a crew of 350, including waiters and waitresses, gourmet chefs, a full orchestra, and gunmen. Its first class dining room served French cuisine exclusively. [Read more...]