Rothstein, Arnold

Document Type



American gambling figure Arnold Rothstein enjoyed a reputation as the nation's biggest high-stakes gambler during his lifetime and is today known for his connections to the 1919 Black Sox betting scandal. Rothstein's father, Abraham, was born in New York City to a Russian immigrant family. Called “Abe the Just” by New York Governor Alfred E. Smith for his rectitude, he prospered in the textile industry. His son Arnold was attracted to gambling in his teenage years. Progressive Era–New York had a thriving gambling subculture, with elaborate illegal casinos and street-corner dice games. Early on, Rothstein supplemented his gambling winnings with income derived from moneylending. As he grew older, he worked day jobs as a salesman but continued to hone his gambling ability, for a time under the tutelage of famous gamblers “Honest” John Kelly and Richard Canfield. After saving $2,000, he retired from sales and pledged himself to the life of a professional gambler.


Gamblers; Gambling; History; Rothstein; Arnold; 1882-1928


American Popular Culture | American Studies | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Cultural History | Gaming and Casino Operations Management | Social History


Use Find in Your Library, contact the author, or use interlibrary loan to garner a copy of the item. Publisher copyright policy allows author to archive post-print (author’s final manuscript). When post-print is available or publisher policy changes, the item will be deposited.

Publisher Citation

Schwartz, D. (2012). Rothstein, Arnold. In Wilbur R. Miller (Ed.), The social history of crime and punishment in America: An encyclopedia. (pp. 1585-1586). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781452218427.n602

UNLV article access