Mike Unger was born in Queens, New York in 1947, and spent most of his childhood in Long Island, growing up in a predominantly Jewish and Italian community. As a young adult, Unger was already working hard, running one of his family’s restaurant after school. When he was in high school, his family moved to Los Angeles to accommodate his father’s health needs, and eventually end up in Las Vegas by 1967. Over the next two decades, Unger would work at nine properties in the city.
Unger is one of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ first hotel management graduates, and started his career with Summa Corporation in its management training program at the Frontier Hotel and Casino. After a brief stint at the Airport Marina Hotel in Los Angeles in 1972, Unger returned to Las Vegas, serving in management capacities at the Aladdin Hotel and Casino, Summa Corporation headquarters and Landmark Hotel and Casino. In 1978, he joined Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino management team, and was integral in creating the city’s first large boxing events, the World Series of Tavern Pool, and the Grand Prix race. Unger also ran properties for the White Mountain Apache and Colorado River Indian Tribes in Arizona, as well as the Showboat Hotel and Casino.
Unger, Mike. Interview, 2016 January 21. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.View Related Materials View Oral History Listen to Audio Clip