The Mafia and Sports Betting—How Things Used to Be

Cosa Nostra is known for gambling, from sports betting to casino games. They perfected the routine of paying off police to stay away from their casinos and allow them to operate in peace.

In 1931, when gambling became legal in Nevada, the mafia was not the first one to profit from it. When they got there, others were already well-established and operated in their luxurious hotel-casinos.

As building casinos cost a lot, the mobsters found their own way how to get involved with the casino owners. They figured their way in and became partners with them.

This was the time when sports betting started gaining popularity. Wagering the outcome of certain sports games and making predictions about who wins and who loses was everyone's favorite pastime in that period. Then, when betting on the final outcome wasn't enough, the over/under linebetting appeared in 1960’s, where you wager on whether the total scored points are more or less.

Is it possible to predict football results?

Now, this is the time the mobsters saw an opportunity. They started illegal betting lines all over the US, especially in Las Vegas. This was a massive sport betting network.

The sports bars and sports books that we know today were invented in that period precisely by the mafia. They wanted to attract new customers, so they prepared all these rooms full of TVs with large screens, displaying the games and the betting lines.

However, as the federal officials took notice in 1975, this illegal betting was soon ceased. Keeping the organized crime away from Vegas has become the first priority for the officials at that time, and it still is.

Casinos and mafia today
There's no place for the mafia in casinos today. Even one little rumor can take the gambling license away from the casino owners.

However, there’s no proof that the mafia isn’t involved in illegal online gambling. In a world of free internet, the mafia has the perfect chance to take advantage of bettors and illegal wagering.

Offshore-based online betting sites are today’s mafia thing. Some years ago, one study reported that illegal sports wagering is between 80 billion dollars and can go up to 380 billion dollars per year. Although this is no evidence of the mafia involvement, it is pretty easy to assume who’s behind it.

Legal and mafia-free betting
Of course, not all sports betting is illegal. Many countries today have legalized sports betting sites and sportsbooks where you can go and bet without the feeling of doing a crime. There are hundreds of sites, have a look here, which offer online casino and sports betting which are perfectly legal and safe.

In fact, while illegal betting on off-shore based sites is practically impossible for the police to crack down, the legal betting sites are controlled by the government and are out-of-reach for the mafia. That makes legal betting sites secure places where you can bet in peace.