Literary Las Vegas: Frank August Romano


When American Coin was seized and closed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board for allegedly rigging programs in 1989, company partner Frank August Romano’s life was forever changed. He details his fall from grace and the journey to recovering from financial and professional loss in the book “American Coin: A True Story of Betrayal, Gambling, and Murder in Las Vegas.” Romano wrote the book in an effort to set the record straight. In it, he shares his account of the scandal and the fallout of the investigation including the events surrounding the murder of Larry Volk, a slot technician who confessed to programming gaming machines to cheat players.

When Romano died on Aug. 8, 2012, his wife, Maria Romano, was determined to publish his book in his memory in an effort to clear his name.

“Frank spent his life recovering from the hardships he suffered as a result of the scandal,” Maria Romano said. “It was his dying wish for his story to be told.”

Excerpt from ‘American Coin: A True Story of Betrayal, Gambling, and Murder in Las Vegas’

Within three days, the Gaming Control Board closed down the operation of all the American Coin companies.

Gaming Control Board enforcement agents arrived at the coin company offices to seize the building premises and assets that were remaining in place. They immediately set forth controls for access to the building, and the partners were given formal notice that we would not be permitted access to the premises. This first day was filled with total chaos for the gaming agents, the locations, the coin company employees, and just about everyone who had any dealings with us.

The closing of American Coin was a massive undertaking for the Gaming Control Board. As with most bureaucracies, they were without the practical experience or know-how to handle out-of-the-ordinary circumstances, and the closing of this company was the first and, to date, the only slot route operation ever closed in Nevada.

 

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