Study Guide

Boardwalk Empire Chapter 11

By Nelson Johnson

Chapter 11

It's a New Ballgame

  • Atlantic City mayor Michael Matthews is in some big trouble. Word is that "several FBI agents appeared at city hall with a warrant" (11.2) for his arrest. That's never a good sign…
  • Matthews was elected in 1982. The dude went power crazy from day one, though, acting as corrupt as his predecessors without giving anything back to the community. So an FBI agent posed as a mobster and made deals with Matthews, and the mayor ended up taking a $10,000 bribe. The government is serious about keeping corruption out of this newly-legal gambling mecca.
  • Take Clifford and Stuart Perlman—owners of Las Vegas's Caesar's Palace—for example. Before opening their first Atlantic City casino in 1979, the brothers made their fair share of dealings with mobsters. These dealing eventually force the brothers' ouster from the company, although their casino is eventually opened.
  • A similar thing happens with Steve Wynn, chairman of the Golden Nugget casino in Vegas. Although Wynn is life-long casino worker who actually doesn't have ties to the mob, his organization is almost infiltrated by Mel Harris, an Atlantic City native with "a social relationship with some mob figures" (11.43). When this comes to light, Wynn apologizes and vows to be more vigilant in the future. He still gets to build his precious casino.
  • Basically, this all goes to show that times have changed in Atlantic City. With gambling now in the hands of the government, it's going to be a lot harder for the criminal underworld to get their cut.