Whether it be from films or real-life experience, the majority of us will know what a legitimate casino looks like. It is opulent, bright and loud, buzzing with energy. Everyday players and celebrities frequent these. However, located far away from the glamorous bright lights of legitimate casino games, you can find the illegal gambling dens which can also be known as spiels in the UK. Several of these illegal casinos are in London and other capital cities.
There are well-known celeb poker rings that Tobey Maguire and Leonardo Di Caprio are a part of. But there are no doubt hundreds if not thousands of illegal casinos across the world. Especially in countries where gambling is illegal. But what exactly is illegal and gambling and how big is the market for unlawful gambling?
Like gambling itself, unlawful gambling varies. It differs drastically from country to country. Even in the US, many states have made online gambling illegal. But generally, in a country where gambling is legal, an illegal casino would be somewhere offering slot machines, card games and betting on sports without the correct licenses.
Why do players gamble illegally? It can be a lot to do with the laws in certain counties, there may be an increase in unlawful gambling in countries and states that have made gambling illegal and this could feed the demand of illegal casino operations. Or, in remote areas that are far away from land-based casinos where online gambling is illegal may be a motivation for people to gamble illegally or play on slot machines which are unlicensed. For example, in Greece when online gambling was illegal, there was a big market for unlawful gambling and there have been many uncovered illegal casino operations, estimated to be the value of $1.3 billion.
However, this figure may have decreased since Greece have now made online gambling legal. Illegal casinos often thrive. They grow in countries that have put heavy restrictions on gambling or have made gambling illegal altorict laws and restrictions.
Money laundering is another reason why some illegal casinos have been set up. Another illegal activity that hides where money comes from illegally through a process of passing the money through an intricate sequence of bank transactions and transfers so that the money is returned the launderer. Often, illegal casino owner act in a way that is difficult for authorities to trace. Illegal casinos around the world are rife with such activities. It has been estimated that in Germany money laundering through illegal casino operations has been within the region of $150 million.
There are many ongoing undercover and police investigations. These intend to uncover black market casinos and illegal gambling operations. No one knows for sure the biggest illegal casinos or the value of the operations. But it is likely to be multiple billions. Greece is an example who back in an investigation in 2012 had over 10,000 illegal slot machines. Just wow.
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