Tom Dennison

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Tom Dennison, aka Pickhandle, Old Grey Wolf, was the early 20th century political boss and racketeer of Omaha, Nebraska. A politically savvy, culturally astute gambler, Dennison was in charge of the city's wide crime rings, including prostitution, gambling and bootlegging in the 1920s. Dennison is credited with electing "Cowboy" James Dahlman mayor of Omaha eight times, and when losing an election, inciting the Omaha Race Riot of 1919 in retribution against the candidate who won.

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William Dennison Jr. American politician

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Political boss person who controls a unit of a political party, although he/she may not hold political office

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The Sporting District was an area near 16th and Harney Streets in Omaha, Nebraska where city boss Tom Dennison kept the majority of his gambling, drinking and prostitution interests from the late 19th century until the end of his reign in 1933. "Cowboy" James Dahlman was reputedly voted to the first of eight terms as mayor of Omaha because he was more tolerant of the Dennison's "Sporting District" in the middle of the city.

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Gambling in Omaha, Nebraska has been significant throughout the city's history. From its founding in the 1850s through the 1930s, the city was known as a "wide-open" town, meaning that gambling of all sorts was accepted either openly or in closed quarters. By the mid-20th century, Omaha reportedly had more illicit gambling per capita than any other city in the nation. From the 1930s through the 1970s, the city's gambling was controlled by an Italian criminal element.

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