Mobs and Mafias

The Rise of Online Casino Criminals

January 24, 2017 • By

The internet has been a marvellous invention for everybody. It has permitted people to make new friends and get in touch with old friends. It has revolutionised how we do business, shop, bank and play games. For the gambling industry, it has been a boon, with new websites like Slots Magic gaining rapid popularity daily. However, the massive growth of online casinos has one downside in the growth of online casino criminals. The opportunity to gamble has gone hand in hand with the opportunities for online crime.

Organised Crime and Gambling

Legal gambling is strictly regulated in the countries where it is permitted. The USA is one of those countries with strict regulations. In December 2015, the US Department of Justice released a report into the state of online illegal gambling. The US government has strong evidence to support that online casino crime does not exist in a bubble, but that it is part of the underworld of organised crime. Internet gambling has permitted organised criminals easier and more diverse methods to expand their operations.

Unlicensed gambling

Another type of online casino criminals are unlicensed website. The organisers may or may not have links to other organised criminal activity. These are often set up as seemingly legitimate businesses. However, as they are unlicensed, they are also unregulated. For the player there is little chance of winning. These unlicensed sites are usually fronts for money laundering operations. In a report in 2015, the US Department of Justice highlighted a number of high profile cases of websites shut down and their organisers jailed.

Scams and Scammers

With illegal online gambling, the potential for the public to become a victim of a scam is now much greater than it ever was. It is easy and cheap to create a glossy website and make it look legitimate. Criminals realise that all they need is the appearance of respectability and the curious player will sign up with their personal details. Once the bank account, credit card or other payment method is entered, scammers can spend away.

Identity Fraud

Similar to the scammers who take illegally take money from credit card and bank accounts, these same individuals may also be involved in identity fraud. All it takes is a simple website claiming to be an online casino (or a discount site or a portal to new games with lots of prizes) and then using those personal details to apply for credit cards, driver’s licenses and other things. Fraudsters will also share these illegally held details amongst others in the criminal fraternity.

Money Laundering

The biggest problem associated with online casino crime is money laundering, It is just one front for the criminals, but because of the growth of legal online gambling, criminals have spotted a great avenue to launder money. McAfee estimates that there are around 25,000 legal gambling sites in the world with more opening and closing every day. The problem is not the number of sites, but the volume of transactions that take place every day. With the addition of Bitcoin as a paying method the potential is even greater. It is believed that the same people behind online casino crime is also behind the malware known as Ransomware.


Mobster Profiles

RANKED: The Worst Casino Mobsters in the World

December 31, 2016 • By

 

We all know that crime and money go hand in hand, and that’s why so many mobsters get caught up in gambling. Many of the mob operated casinos in Vegas from the mid-1930s onward. Here is a list of some of the most notorious casino mobsters from that time. We bet you’ll recognise some of these names!

12. Frank ‘Lefty’ Rosenthal

Frank is perhaps best known as the basis for the character Robert De Niro played in hit movie Casino. Rosenthal actually managed four casinos throughout his life; one was The Stardust.

11. Tony ‘The Ant’ Spilotro

Another guy who was immortalised on celluloid is Tony Spilotro. One of the most famous casino mobsters, he was the basis for Joe Pesci’s psychotic Nicky Santoro (also in Casino). Spilotro met a nearly identical death to Santoro’s in the film too!

10. Frank Costello

Costello rose through the ranks of Italian crime family the Luciano’s. He was a respected and feared mobster, involved in all sorts of schemes, including casinos. He also survived an attempted hit organised by the man he succeeded, Vito Genovese.

9. Geri McGee

Gera was married to Frank Rosenthal and was portrayed by Sharon Stone in the movie Casino. She was a casino showgirl and lived with a debilitating drug habit. She eventually died of an overdose in 1982. It’s also known that Geri had an affair with Frank’s pal Tony Spilotro.

8. David Berman

Also known as ‘Davie the Jew’, Berman became influential when the mob took Vegas. He is known to have worked at The Flamingo under Bugsy Siegel. Unlike most mobsters, Dave met a more natural end. He died of complications during surgery to remove colon polyps.

7. Charles Baron

Charles ‘Babe’ Baron was another of those active in the Chicago mob scene. He represented the mob interest in Vegas casinos and was a known associate of Capone. He was another who would spend many years working in the casinos, and line his pockets embezzling money.

6. Louis ‘Lepke’ Buchalter

Louis was born in 1897 and ended up heading the infamous Murder, Inc. hit squad. He turned to crime as a teen, and never looked back. He and friend Jacob Shapiro founded the hit squad to take care of mob kills. He met his inevitable end when he was convicted for drug trafficking and murder. He received the death penalty via execution in 1944.

5. Meyer Lansky

Meyer was one of Bugsy Siegel’s childhood pals, and the two ran The Flamingo together. Lansky was the money man working behind the scenes, and making sure everyone “got theirs”. There are rumours that the two fell out, and Lansky arranged Siegel’s death, though this is unknown.

4. Marshall Caifano

Marshall was one of the most feared hit men in Chicago and travelled to Vegas under Paul Ricca. The trained boxer was implicated in many murders, but it was the black market that got him a jail conviction.

3. The Hole in the Wall Gang

The infamous Hole in the Wall Gang sounds like a Wild West mob of vigilantes. In reality, they were a mob outfit headed by Tony Spilotro and his brother Micky. They got their name as burglars where they would drill into ceilings and walls. It all unravelled, and Tony and Micky were brutally executed by the mob.

2. Bugsy Siegel

Bugsy was influenced by Al Capone’s idea to move the mob to Vegas and take advantage of the money there. He was instrumental in bringing the mob together to run The Flamingo, which was the first ever mob run casino in Vegas

1. Al Capone

The original godfather of gangsters everywhere. He was one of the most successful and feared mobsters of the Prohibition era. He was implicated in a lot of crimes, including murder, but was finally sent down for 11 years for tax evasion.

 


Mobs and Mafias

The Truth About The Movie Casino

September 1, 2016 • By

Everybody knows that any film “inspired by actual events” takes a fair amount of artistic license. The 1990s mob movie Casino starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone was a massive hit. Here, we look at the facts behind the fiction of the people, places and events.

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Mobster Profiles

David Berman

August 6, 2016 • By

When it comes to the mob’s influence on the Las Vegas gambling scene David Berman aka “Davie the Jew” is considered one of the pioneers. He and Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel had operated the Flamingo Las Vegas.

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Mobster Profiles

Charles Baron

May 10, 2016 • By

Charles “Babe” Baron was a notorious Chicago mobster during the days of Meyer Lansky and Al Capone.  He had widespread interests in the underworld but he is best known for his role in the gambling industry.

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Mobster Profiles

Al Capone

May 10, 2016 • By

Back in the Prohibition era, there was an American gangster who quickly rose to fame as one of the founders and the boss of Italian-American crime syndicate, Chicago Outfit. His name? Alphonse Gabriel Capone – better known as infamous American gangster, Al Capone.

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Mobster Profiles

Meyer Lansky

May 10, 2016 • By

Meyer Lansky was born Meier Suchowlański in 1902 in Belarus. He was Polish-Jewish although he and his family immigrated to the United States when he was less than ten years old.

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