Thursday, May 28, 2009

Black Book member Masterana dies in the Dominican

Frank Masterana, a gambler and bookmaker known from the Strip to Santo Domingo, died Sunday at age 80 in the Dominican Republican, according to a longtime family friend.
A member of Nevada’s list of excluded persons, better known as the Black Book, Masterana was born in Canton, Ohio Jan. 26, 1929, and moved to Las Vegas to work for “Doc” Stacher in the early 1950s.
An illegal bookmaker much of his adult life, Masterana’s name was placed in the Black Book on Oct. 19, 1988. He became known as an associate – a reluctant one, to hear Masterana tell it – of Anthony Spilotro in the early 1980s.
Following a couple trips to prison, Masterana moved his base of operations to the Dominican Republican, and according to reliable sources at the time of his death he ran more than a dozen sports betting outlets in Santo Domingo.
I met Frank many years ago when he was between government staycations. He was an intriguing character whose life was defined by illegal gambling and his son Frank's quadruplegic condition. In those days, in part to avoid detection, Masterana looked a little like Willie Nelson with a long ponytail and salt-and-pepper facial hair. He was an old-school survivor, an outlaw with a soft spot for his kids. John L. Smith Las Vegas Review Journal