Cactus Pete Piersanti

Male, Deceased Person

1916 – 1994

 Credit ยป

Who was Cactus Pete Piersanti?

Peter Vincent "Cactus Pete" Piersanti was an American hotel and casino promoter active in Idaho and Nevada from the 1940s to the 1980s. He is credited as one of the main founders of the community of Jackpot, Nevada, in the 1950s. He is namesake of two Nevada casinos he owned at different points in his career, Cactus Pete's casino in Jackpot and Cactus Jack's Casino in Carson City.

Piersanti was born in Superior, Wyoming, the youngest of six children. His parents were Italian immigrants. His family later moved to Ogden, Utah. While in Ogden in 1941 Piersanti purchased a local bar and grill with a card room and a pinball machine distribution company. In 1943 Piersanti enlisted in the United States Army and served during World War II.

After the war Piersanti and his family were among the original owners of the Island Park Lodge in Island Park, Idaho, which opened in 1947. The property featured several slot machines owned by Piersanti.

In 1954 the State of Idaho outlawed all forms of gambling. In response Piersanti moved his slot machine operation from Island Park to a site just south of the Idaho border on U.S. Route 93 in what was then considered a part of Contact, Nevada, in Elko County. The opening of Piersanti's establishment, Cactus Pete's Motor Lodge, was instrumental in the founding of the town of Jackpot.

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  • United States of America
Lake Tahoe

on July 23, 2013


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