From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Gambling Houses (Newport, KY)

Beginning in the late 1800s, Covington and Newport, KY were known for their gambling and prostitution houses and organized crime. Newport was referred to as "sin city."

One of the African American gambling houses in the area was the Alibi Club, owned by Melvin Clark in 1952. The club was acquired by Screw Andrews (Frank Andriello) when Clark was kicked out of Newport after shooting and killing Andrews' casino manager. Clark returned to Newport in 1954 and opened the Coconut Grove. He was later killed by Screw Andrews.

Other casinos and clubs that catered to African Americans were the Congo, the Copa, Golden Lounge, the Rocket, York Streets, the Sportsman, and the Varga.

For more see Newport, the real sin city, by J. Laudeman; Syndicate wife: the story of Ann Drahmann Coppola, by H. Messick; Sin City Revisited: a case study of the official sanctioning of organized crime in an "open city", by M. DeMichele, G. Potter, Justice and Police Studies, Eastern Kentucky University; Rachel Smith, The Original 'Sin City': Exploring Newport's Past of Mobs, Crimes, and MoreThe Northerner, October 25, 2019; Chad Huggins Dunbar's articles in the Northern Kentucky Tribune: Our Rich History: "Numbers King" Melvin Clark and African American Racketeers in Newport, Jan. 11, 2021, and Our Rich History: Segregation and how it Affected Newport's Underworld; and D. Baker, "Builder was in business with kin of crime figures," Kentucky Post, 11/02/2002, News section, p. K1.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Kenton County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Campbell County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Covington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Newport, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Newport, the real sin city
NKAA Source: Syndicate wife; the story of Ann Drahmann Coppola
NKAA Source: Kentucky post (newspaper)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Gambling Houses (Newport, KY),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 13, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-05-12 16:32:02