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Illegal Gambling Plagues American Gaming Industry

Many people have visions of glittering Las Vegas casinos run by mobsters who use violence and intimidation to make as much money they can from their casinos. However, those days have passed and the casino gaming industry is one of the most-regulated industries in the entire United States.

That doesn’t mean that there is no crime associated with gambling, but these days most of the criminal activity comes from illegal and unlicensed gambling, or crimes associated with, but ancillary to the actual gambling itself.

By some estimates, the illegal gambling industry in the United States tops $100 billion every year. This illegal and unlicensed gambling can be as simple and harmless as a sports betting pool amongst friends at work or a home poker game played in a garage. Much less harmless are the illegal card rooms, casinos, and the large amount of illegal bookmakers that exist which skirt the law and use violence and illegal gaming tactics to get money out of innocent players.

Gambling, whether through casino gaming, bookmaking, or pari-mutuel betting can also spur financial crimes related to the industry, but not directly involved in the gambling itself. For instance, money laundering through casinos is quite common, where someone uses money gained illegally to buy casino chips and then claim the cash as winnings. Other crimes associated with casinos and card rooms include loan sharking, check fraud, drug dealing, and others. While there is a commonly-held belief that gambling increases instances of street crime, there is no conclusive evidence to support that supposition.

While organized crime has largely been kicked out of the legitimate casino and gambling industry, they are still active in some of the other criminal activities which surround gambling. The largest problem is still with illegal gambling, both online and in real life, which can be very difficult or even impossible to enforce.


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