Al Capone’s Offshore Casino

The SS Monte Carlo was rumored to have been financed by Al Capone (1931 newsreel)

Casino-style gambling was illegal during the Roaring Twenties and Threadbare Thirties. To circumvent the law, offshore casino boats were operated three miles out at sea, safe from local jurisdictions.

Beginning on Christmas Day 1930, patrons of the SS Monte Carlo could embark from the Jungle Pier on small boats that took them through John’s Pass to a “palatial gambling boat” three miles offshore.

Passengers entered through the side of the liner, where speed boats tied up.

“The guests were taken to the big craft in small boats. On board they found the ship elaborately equipped for dining, dancing and every form of gambling from black-jack to roulette.”

St. Petersburg Times, Dec 26, 1930.
In the April 1931 edition of Science and Invention magazine the ship was called “the most elaborately equipped gambling house in the world.”

An article by Scott Deitche on the Mob Museum website claims “the ship, the S.S. Monte Carlo, was rumored to have been financed by [mobster Johnny] Torrio and, some say, Al Capone.”

The SS Monte Carlo ceased operation in 1932, a casualty of the Depression. 

Jungle Pier, departure point for speed boats to the SS Monte Carlo. St. Petersburg Times Mar 23, 1924.

For more Jungle adventures, visit The Jungle Country Club History Project.

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2 years ago

Great post Stev!

Scott Deitche
2 years ago

Very cool finding the newsreel!

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