Vultures pick Sahara’s bones; infamous Paris gambling clubs under fire

TAGs: Aviation Club de France, circles de jeu, Paris, Sahara Hotel

sahara-vultures-paris-gambling-clubsA sad spectacle on the Las Vegas Strip on Thursday as people rummaged through the remains of the once mighty Sahara hotel/casino. The former Vegas icon – which featured prominently in the original Oceans 11 film – closed its doors a month ago after nearly six decades of operation. Owners SBE Entertainment lifted the casket lid on Thursday so that bargain- and souvenir-hunters could pick the Sahara’s bones. Camel lamps were available for $150, but you could get six toilets for that price. The casino’s poker room sign went for $175, while restaurant booth and table sets would set you back $1,225. The liquidators have pledged to keep the doors open until the last slot chair has been sold.

In France, still more iconic gambling venues are under threat. The circles de jeu (gambling clubs) of Paris have been operating since 1907, when proper casinos were first ordered to keep at least 62 miles from city limits. The clubs operate under a loose 1901 law that classifies them as “non-profit” outfits dedicated to promoting “social, artistic literary and sporting activities.” While always maintaining a certain ‘sulphurous’ reputation, they underwent an explosion in popularity that coincided with the resurgent popularity of poker. One of these venues is the Aviation Club de France, last seen hosting a World Poker Tour event in February.

But the jeu may be up, as The Daily Telegraph’s Henry Samuel reports that les gendarmes have shut down three of the circles in the past month. Corsicans had been allowed to run the joints as a reward for their patriotic activities with the Resistance during the Second World War, but French police claim the venues have since become inextricably linked with the Corsican mafia in Marseilles. What this means for the five remaining circles remains to be seen, but the Aviation Club is likely safe. After all, it’s run by the former chief of France’s anti-organized crime division.

Outside of lyrics about gambling and the word ‘Marseilles’ in the title, this video really doesn’t have much to do with any of the above, but it is a very fucking cool tune nonetheless…


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