Illegal Gambling News

News and information about illegal gambling activities worldwide. To see key statistics and data, visit the main Illegal Gambling, Match Fixing, and Online Gambling page.

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.

(Additional info about underground casinos and gambling dens.)

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 laundering cash through betting machines.)


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 dens 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.

(More illegal gambling statistics.)

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,”, August 13, 2013.

An estimated $2.6 Billion is illegally gambled on offshore gambling websites by residents of the United States each year. By comparison, between $2 to $3 Billion is wagered on sports in legal casinos in the state of Nevada.

In total, Americans place up to $500 Million in bets, both legal and illegal, on sports each year.

(Additional information about illegal online gambling.)

Source:  Geoff Freeman, “Policymakers must get on board with online gambling,” Las Vegas Review Journal, September 19, 2103.

Organized crime groups in Japan are running illegal gambling dens where computers display video of casinos in the Philippines and Costa Rica. The players in Japan watch the monitor and place their bets accordingly. The casinos in the foreign country are legal, while the gambling on the feed in Japan is not.

The virtual casino in Japan pays the actual casino 50 cents to receive a point, which is then sold to the gambler in Japan for $1. These points are used as casino chips when playing. 80 percent of the Japanese gamblers play baccarat.

According to law enforcement, these virtual casinos in Japan earn about $50,500 (5 Million Japanese Yen) each month.

(More earnings of illegal casinos.)

Source:  “Internet tele-casinos may be newest bet for yakuza groups,” Asahi Shimbum, September 16, 2013.

The head of the Anti-Money Laundering Office in Thailand stated that over $3.7 Billion (120 Million Thai Baht) was laundered out of Thailand in 2011. The amount of money laundered is equal to 12.16 percent of Thailand’s GDP.

Half of the funds that was laundered was generated from illegal gambling, with the rest of the funds being generated from black market activities.

Source:  “Thai laundered money ‘mostly from gambling’,” Phuket News, September 4, 2013.