Vince Landa laid to rest


THE family of 1960s slot machine entrepreneur Vincent Luvaglio have paid tribute to him following his funeral this week reports the Evening Chronicle (Newcastle).

Vincent, 78, also known as Vince Landa, was a Cockney who moved to the North East to run a fruit machine empire after the Government made one-armed bandits legal.

The business exploded onto the North East scene and was valued at the time at £8m giving Vincent, his wife Gwen and six children a luxurious lifestyle of cars and property such as Dryderdale Hall in Hamsterley Forest later famously featuring in the gangster film, Get Carter.

The business mastermind used reconditioned gambling machines he bought from Las Vegas for installation into working men’s clubs. This lifestyle, however, was not to last, following the discovery of the body of Angus Sibbett in the back of his E-type Jaguar in 1967 and the subsequent arrest of his brother, Michael, and confidante, Dennis Stafford.

The events were later to be coined the ‘One-armed bandit murder’. The crime would later become the inspiration behind the book Jack’s Return Home and Get Carter.

Speaking about his dad’s life on behalf of his family, Vincent’s son Ben said: “His younger years, like many, were touched by the fall-out from the Second World War and the effect this had upon his friends and family. However this experience served to credit Vincent with a spirit and determination to succeed and live life to the very full.

“Growing up as a child of the war, Vincent was passionate to serve the country he called home.As soon as practically possible, he achieved this through serving in the Royal Air Force Police, where he was posted to Germany.After serving in the Royal Air Force, he returned to the East End of London and found favour working with the notorious Kray twins, assisting in their many enterprises in and around London, in particular, Soho, managing their gambling ventures.

“During these years spent in London, Vincent fancied himself somewhat as a boxer and trained hard in the boxing club made famous by the Krays themselves.”

Ben told of his dad’s later entrepreneurial career.

“Vincent decided to go it alone and set up a separate operation to that of the twins, selling televisions, radios and discounted records due to their popular demand,” he said. “With the business flourishing he obtained a franchise for the whole of the UK to market a television converter enabling all existing television sets only in receipt of BBC to receive ITV as well. He will be greatly missed by all who loved him.”

After fighting and beating cancer, Vincent was approached by a film director with a script and asked to act as a technical adviser in the making of a film of his life.

It was subsequently announced at the Cannes Film Festival that the venture had gained sufficient funding from Monte Cristo to go ahead. The film was to begin production but, tragically, the producer and North East journalist Patrick Lavelle died from cancer and the film is currently on hold.

Vincent died suddenly on June 27, 2011, from a pulmonary embolism.

His funeral service was held in Chelmsford on Wednesday and he leaves seven children and six grandchildren.

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Comments (14)

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Vince Landa’s company Social ClubServices Ltd and the event leading up to the murder of fruit machine collector Angus Sibbet was the main reason for the introduction of the 1968 Betting and Gaming act that changed the wayfruit machine operaters did business, no longer was an operator allowed to do profit sharing in club locations, it was the introduction of fruit machine rentals to locations.

VinceLanda’s brother Michael Luvaglia and Dennis Stafford were convicted of the murder, and according to the lack of evidence in the case, it was thought that their conviction was a gross miscarriage of justice. If anyone needs a transcription of the case send me an e-mail to

Freddy Bailey
Coin Machine Historian.

Freddy Bailey
20/07/2011, 13:35

Thought I would also write something regarding the history of Vince.

I first met him when he had the café Derek refers to below, and installed an AMI Tropicana Juke Box on shares. After a few weeks Vince asked if he could buy it as it was doing well. We did manage to find a finance company to take it on. All was fine for a few months, and we then heard that the café was closed and Vince had run away. In those days in our industry finance companies would only provide the funds if the supplier took recourse which we had to do, so we paid up the outstanding balance and got the juke box back.

About two years later a very expensive American car pulled up outside our showroom in Ladbroke Grove, and who should step out, Vince. He told us he had moved to Sunderland and had started Social Club Services, and needed to buy some Fruit machines and had the money with him to pay. He not only paid for twenty Sega fruit machines but also what we had had to pay to settle the finance. From that day he and I became good friends, and I spent much time with him in Sunderland and all his people, as they were buying twenty machines a week for the fast growing business

Michael was a truly lovely guy and as far as I was concerned did not believe he was involved in the murder of Angus Siffert.

Quite a number of employees left him to start their own business, and probably the most successful was Frank Hoy who started Cam Automatics together with Bob Murray.

Unfortunately through some of Vince’s associates there were some illegal dealings that ended up with Vince going to live overseas.

I do have one funny reminisce from those heady days. I was with him in a new Buick convertible and he couldn’t find a space to park on a busy street in Sunderland. He stopped a policeman and asked him to look after the car at a busy junction and causing a traffic hazard. The policeman said. “My pleasure Mr Lander”.

I also remember going to a Chinese restaurant which was still quite an event in those days, and seeing every dish served with chips and gravy.

I could go on with many more stories but feel this is enough for today.

PS I think the correct spelling was Levaglio.

Michael Green
20/07/2011, 16:48

Vince Luvaglio,(Landa) bought a café in Kirkdale, Sydenham in the 1960’s and came in to my Father’s showroom in south London with his brother Michael to buy a pinball table to put into the café. My father traded as Chicago Automatic Supply Company and was located in St. George’s Rd at the Elephant and Castle, London SE1 and had been there since he had re located from Morning Lane Hackney E9 just before the war started.

This was Vince’s first introduction to coin operated games, and it was from this niave beginning that he began his gambling machine business. He stayed in Kirkdale for about 3 years and traded from his café. South London at that time was full of “strange individuals” who fringed in the coin op business, so he had plenty of customers in the area.

His business in the north east was called Social Club Services and Dennis Stafford was one of the company representatives together with Michael Luvaglio. These two were implicated in the murder of Angus Sibbald, and were detained and served their sentence in prison.

The circumstance surrounding the murder and Vince’s operation in the north east led to the changes in the original Gambling Act , and from then on games were only permitted to be hired to the location and profit sharing of games’ takings was outlawed.

I remember Vince and Michael well from that time, but if Michael were to come walking in the door I doubt that I would recall what he looked like. After all, I am reminiscing from over 55 years ago. No doubt Freddy will have more to tell you.

Derek Horwood
20/07/2011, 16:51

Hi Michael,
I thought you would know more about Social Club Services Ltd I know they bought a large amount of Bally Gold Cup’s and put so much security on them they weighed a ton, they even covered in the hopper payout system. Do you remember Sissy Marks, Marty’s secretary she used to take money to Vince Landa when he lived in Majorca. by the way Michael Luvaglia name was spelt correctly according to the trial transcript that I have.

Best Wishes.


Freddy Bailey
20/07/2011, 16:52

Hi Derek

There is a picture of Michael in this article I found online. He is still fighting his conviction, even though he is very ill.

Coin-Op Community
26/07/2011, 22:00

Hi, my father ‘Geoff Manning’ aka Harry Branson Gorst was best friends with Vince – he had a cockney accent and came to the North East during the mid 60s too, first playing the guitar in places like The Room in Newcastle, then getting my mother pregnant and settling in a pub called The County, in South Shields – we had a hell of a life with him. Any info would be a relief….. he was a stranger, with a huge scar on his cheek, to us……..

South Shields
30/11/2015, 09:06

My dad had a Sydenham too – the front grill, with a Sphynx was in the back of the County’s yard for years – I wonder if it was the same one…… it has to be – no way!!

30/11/2015, 09:11

I would really like to get some clarity my life re Geoff Manning – I know nothing of him. He even lied to us all about his parents – said they were dead, no names, I found out his dad, my grandfather only died five years before he did …….. ‘my dad’ was a total psycho looking back – brought us nothing but grief, I would even go so far as to say that her was responsible for my beautiful Mother’s death – her name was Irene, btw….
‘Geoff was ‘a man’s man’ too. I know for a fact now………..
Vince used to own the Pear Tree garage, so my Nanna used to grumble every time we passed it on the way to Newcastle – their other friend was George Wilson, if that rings any bells…..

30/11/2015, 09:20

Hi Melina – I will put a call out among my readership to see if anyone knows anything about Geoff Manning and see if I can put you in touch with anyone who remembers him. I send out a newsletter every Wednesday and will let you know what I find out – all the best – Steph

02/12/2015, 07:30

George Wilson….the demolition man from Sunderland. Business was called Ingledene. He was a friend of Vince.

21/12/2015, 09:26

I sometimes used to have a drink with a man I met in the clubs in Teesside area. His name is or was Keith Howard, (this is quite a few years ago). He often said he was in the fruit machine business and I wonder what happeed to him. Has anyone heard of him.

26/12/2015, 13:06

There is a lot of information given here which is hard to understand. Did Social Club Services rent the slot machinees to working men’s clubs? If so why were North West Securities involved? As far as I know North West provided hire purchase/credit facilities. Who purchased the slot machines using credit facilities provide by North West Securities? If the clubs were renting the machines from Social Club Servicees presumably the clubs were not buying them using North West credit facilities. Why did Social Club Services empty the machines and not the club people? If, in London, buyers were queing up to by single machines why did the clubs not buy them outright? I presume there was a split in the takings when they were emptied by Social Club Services, if the club owned their own machines they would make more profit. So why did they not buy them outright. How much money would a slot machine take weekly? How much money was stored inside the machine to pay out? What were the odds on winning? I would be grateful for more info on this subject.

29/12/2015, 14:00

In addition I would add that perhaps Social Club Services sold the slot machines to the working men’s clubs. Perhaps the clubs bought the machines on finance provided by North West Securities. Can anyone confirm this? Also, how much did these slot machines cost to buy? If the clubs bought them on credit how much did they pay for them? Also, if they were bought on credit, as some point they would own the slot machines outright. During the credit period and after why would Social Club Servics empty the machines? Why would they be involved in the machines after they had sold them? How ofthen would the machines be emptied?

29/12/2015, 14:07

vynce wanted to buy one of my dad’s night clubs …or swap it for a villa in Spain I think…dad ended up buying his e type…beautiful car..does anyone know Harry Perry? heard his name a lot..

north east
27/10/2017, 17:38

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