Illegal Gambling and Match Fixing


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  1. Black Market: Illegal Gambling $140 Billion

News, information and statistics about illegal gambling and match fixing. Data about underground casinos are collected from publicly available criminal justice information and other sources.

According to research organization Demoskopika in Italy, the mafia syndicate ‘Ndrangheta collected $73 Billion (€53 Billion) in revenue in 2013.

The various revenue streams for the syndicate is as follows:

Intelligence from criminal justice programs state that the ‘Ndragheta has around 400 key operatives working on its behalf in 30 countries. When including all people who conduct business on behalf of the group, then the number of people working for ‘Ndragheta is estimated to be as high as 60,000.

Source:  AFP, “‘Ndrangheta mafia ‘made more last year than McDonald’s and Deutsche Bank’,” Guardian, March 26, 2014.

According to research organization Demoskopika in Italy, the mafia syndicate ‘Ndrangheta collected $73 Billion (€53 Billion) in revenue in 2013.

The various revenue streams for the syndicate is as follows:

Intelligence from criminal justice programs state that the ‘Ndragheta has around 400 key operatives working on its behalf in 30 countries. When including all people who conduct business on behalf of the group, then the number of people working for ‘Ndragheta is estimated to be as high as 60,000.

Source:  AFP, “‘Ndrangheta mafia ‘made more last year than McDonald’s and Deutsche Bank’,” Guardian, March 26, 2014.

According to a report by accounting firm KPMG and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the estimated size of the illegal gambling market in India is worth $49 Billion (3 Trillion Rupees).

In a report by Reuters news, most of the illegal casinos operated out of jewelry shops. This allows the bookmaker to be able to wash and handle large amounts of cash. Bets placed at these illegal bookies range from $80 to $81,000 (5,000 to 5 Million Rupees).

Another popular form of illegal gambling in India is through the use of online casinos hosted outside of the country.

Source:  Manoj Kumar, “Wary of pollsters, Indians draw election tips from illegal bookies,” Reuters, March 24, 2014.

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An illegal casino operating in Japan was broken up by police in March 2014 that made an estimated $1,969,400 (200 Million Yen) in earnings over a 17 month period.

According to media reports, investigators discovered a rental contract between the illegal casino and the Embassy of Ghana in Japan. The casino was to pay the Ghana embassy $4,923.50 (500,000 Yen) in rent each month for being allowed to operate on property that belonged to the Ghanian Embassy.

Japanese nationals who were arrested in the raid stated that they thought that diplomatic immunity applied to them because the activities were taking place on property owned by the Ghana Embassy.

(See all illegal gambling statistics.)

Source:  Raphael Ofori-Adeniran, “Japan accuses Ghana of flouting gambling law,” SpyGhana, March 20, 2014.

Criminal justice agencies in Russia have shut down over 61,000 illegal casinos and gambling dens across the country since a gambling law took effect in 2009.

A total of $17.1 Million in fines have been levied to owners of underground gambling parlors between 2009 and 2013. During the enforcement raids, over 796,000 slot machines and other gambling machines were seized by police.

The 2009 gambling law allowed gambling to be permitted in 4 rural regions, thus creating a black market across the country for illegal casinos. Most of the illegal gambling houses operate under the cover of bingo halls or Internet clubs.

At the end of 2012, security officials estimated that there were 500,000 illegal gambling halls operating across the country.

(All illegal gambling news.)

Source:  “Russia Has Shut Down 61,000 Illegal Casinos Since Gambling Ban,” RIA Novosti, January 29, 2014.

According to a report by the Congressional Executive Commission on China, up to $202 Billion in illicit funds is laundered through the casinos of Macau, a territory controlled by China. Up to 30 percent of all bets placed in Macau was estimated to have been illegally brought in to the country to be washed.

China places limits on the amount of money its citizens can carry in cash to Macau. On each trip,  a Chinese citizen can carry about $3,000 (20,000 Yuan), and up to $50,000 a year. In 2013, 17 million residents from mainland China visited Macau.

The average bet placed at a casino in Macau was at least $100.

(Additional money laundering examples.)

Source:  Jonathan Kaiman, “Macau is betting on a new kind of Chinese tourism,” Guardian, January 4, 2014.

 (More on illegal gambling.)

In 2009, security services in South Korea arrested 73,000 people for various prostitution charges across the country.

In 2012, officials arrested 21,123 people.

Although final figures were unavailable, South Korean media stated that criminal justice programs increased enforcement in 2013 due to criticism on the lower arrest rates. In a single day in December, authorities arrested 650 people for prostitution related charges. During the raids, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency shut down 231 illegal gambling houses and brothels that were operating across the city.

Between November and December 2013, criminal justice agencies shut down a total of 76 illegal brothels that were operating in South Korea.

(Cost of prostitution around the world.)

Source:  Yoon Ha-youn, “Over 600 arrested in crackdown on sex, gambling crimes: Seoul,” Asia One, December 16, 2013.

The winning purse of a cockfighting match in Los Angeles, California can be as high as $15,000, according to sheriff officials.

In 2010, up to 400 roosters were seized during illegal gambling raids in the San Bernadino area of California. In addition to the roosters, 43 people were prosecuted for running illegal cockfighting rings.

On average, about 100 people are arrested for cockfighting rings in California each year.

(More profits and earnings from under the table activities here.)

Source:  Sandra Endo, “Illegal Animal Fights on the Rise in LA,” My Fox LA, November 19, 2013.

Drug dealers in Britain use electronic gambling machines across the nation to launder money that they earned through illegal drug sales.

According to a report in the Guardian, the dealers insert drug money into the fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) and then cash out to make it seem that drug money is gambling winnings.

The dealers are aware that gamble at least 40 percent of the money wagered in order to avoid being flagged for suspicious activities. One dealer stated that he simply puts £20 on black £20 on red, and £2 on 0, and plays until he passes the 40 percent level.

By feeding the terminals with drug money and then cashing out, the drug dealers are able to have a receipt that shows how much money was cashed out Thus, if they are ever stopped by police, the drug dealers can point to the receipt to show why they are holding so much cash.

There are 33,345 fixed-0dds betting terminals across the United Kingdom. Each one is able to process a £100 bet every 20 seconds. One machine can gross about £900 a week.

(What is money laundering? Find more examples here.)

Source:  Randeep Ramesh, “The gambling machines helping drug dealers ‘turn dirty money clean’,” Guardian, November 8 2013

In 2012, criminal justice agencies in Greece conducted raids against 1,000 establishments that were operating illegal casinos. The raids resulted in nearly 11,000 casino machines being seized and around 5,000 people for illegal gambling activities.

In the first 5 months of 2013, police closed down 363 illegal casinos in Greece. The raids in the first 5 months of 2013 resulted in 4,014 video lottery terminals being seized and 1,889 people being arrested.

Source:  Stathis Kousounis, “Illegal casinos depriving Greek state of considerable revenues,” ekathimerini.com, August 13, 2013.