Most forms of now-legal gambling spent many decades being outlawed and totally taboo. Many religions and governments consider gambling sinful or devious, forcing it underground and associating it with all kinds of criminal activity.
While most gambling is now legal, gambling-related crime is still rife. Many notorious gangsters and criminals have used casinos to launder money or fund crime syndicates – although legalising casinos and betting has definitely minimised this
Are you ready to discover the worlds of card counting, game rigging, backroom gambling and loan sharking? Read on to discover some of the most rife and commonplace gambling-related crimes in the world today…
#1: Money Laundering
For many years, gambling was money laundering’s go-to industry. Dozens of organised crime syndicates used legal casino establishments to hide their incomes from gun and ammunition sales or drugs.
Money laundering is less common now as it was during the 20th century, because casinos have upped their security to prevent it. Regulations and revenue reports are also helping to curb the practice – or at the very least, money launderers are careful to launder smaller amounts so as not to raise suspicions.
#2: Card Counting
Technically, counting cards isn’t a true crime, but casinos definitely don’t take kindly to the practice regardless. Successful card counters can cost casinos millions in winnings.
There have been many famous card counters in history, like Tommy Hyland and Stanford Wong, and some have even written books on their systems and strategies. However, casinos are making this much harder to achieve today by eliminating one-deck blackjack and other card games, and changing out decks during table games to confuse any counters’ plans.
#3: Unlicensed Bookmakers
There are many online bookmakers and land-based bookmakers’ offices that offer legal sports betting opportunities to the public. However, there are also ‘informal’ bookmakers around, who offer bets on sports games without the necessary regulation or licenses.
Decades ago, you would have to travel downtown or visit the back room of a bar to place an illegal sports bet, and if you lost and couldn’t cover the wager, a few broken bones would undoubtedly be coming your way. That sort of thing doesn’t happen much anymore – but make sure that your bookie is reputable just in case!
#4: Corruption and Fixing
Corruption in sports teams and clubs is rife, and always has been. The sports betting industry is constantly being shaken by new corruption and fixing scandals. Members bribe officials and policemen to continue fixing matches, and the people in authority pocketed huge amounts to keep the illicit behaviour on the down-low. This has made law enforcement corruption an equally pressing problem that is still extremely persistent in the world of sport.
Many players have found ways to fool the casino and strike it rich, if only temporarily. People even used to hide cards up their sleeves back in the 19th century to attempt to secure themselves a shady win.
By the 1930s, casinos were already attempting to put security measures in place to make it harder for cheaters to reign successful – busting inside jobs like the infamous Tran Organisation, who bribed a dealer to ‘false shuffle’ their cards, in the process. Even electronic machines like slot machines have been manipulated by technicians, so cheating is certainly not a practice of the past yet.
#6: Loan Sharking
Loan sharks lend illegal funds to casino players and bettors at a sky-high interest rate. This is an unfortunate practice that allows those with gambling problems to continue spending cash – often with dire consequences, as when these players can’t pay the money back, the response is ruthless.
Loan sharks often use violence and blackmail to get their borrowers to repay the money, and this has become so commonplace in the industry that the sharks’ reputations precede them.