The idea that organized crime occupies a central role in illegal gambling has become orthodoxy. Proponents of the idea maintain that organized crime is financed in large by part by revenues derived from illegal gambling and that monopolistic control of sub-rosa gambling markets is maintained through the discriminatory use of violence and bribing of law enforcement officials. The Kefauver commission in 1950, the McClellan committee in 1962, and the president’s commission in 1967 essentially agreed that illegal gambling provided organized crime with its working capital. Using these monies, the mob allegedly diversified its interests into a variety of areas, including legitimate business.
A statement that was to become a criminal-justice axion, contended that gambling income is the lifeline of organized crime. If we can cut it or constrict it, we will be striking close to the heart.’ the orthodox position vis-a-vis illegal gambling and organized crime has remained intact. the chairman of the President’s Commission on Organized Crime, Irving Kaufman, identified online illegal gambling as the ‘principal source of income’ for organized crime. Therefore, Kaufman stated. The goal of the commission ‘must be to devise ways to prevent the criminals from sharing in the profits from gambling legal or illegal.’
Researchers who have done independent studies of illegal gambling have also refuted the orthodox view that illegal gambling is inevitably intertwined with organized crime. In an observational study of two established bookmaking operations, Raymond D’Angelo also found little evidence of mob influence and no instances of bookmakers resorting to violence. Further evidence of the tenuous link between organized crime and illegal gambling can be found in wire-tapped conversations between leading crime figures. An analysis of recorded conversations between the crime bosses Angelo, DeCarlo, and Sam De Cavalcante and their associates indicated that illegal gambling (mostly numbers banks) was a sideline that generated only modest profits.
The crime syndicate heads made no effort to control gambling; they did not restrict entry nor did they establish exclusive territories. After culling through the files of various agencies. It was also concluded that large crime families had only limited control over illegal gambling. Reuter and Rubinstein presented additional evidence to refute the notion that a cartel of operators monopolizes illegal markets, citing the example of an abortive attempt by bookmakers to increase their profits. Prior to the start of the major league season, several large bookmakers reduced their odds on baseball games. The customers reacted by taking their business elsewhere. After suffering a severe drop in baseball wagering for three weeks, the bookmakers cried uncle and returned to the earlier and less profitable odds structure.