The Biggest Illegal Casinos In History


Where there are large sums of money there is crime and corruption waiting in the wings. This saying may have applied to gambling at some point throughout its long history, but now a lot of the industry is heavily regulated and strictly licensed. Obviously this has not always been the case, but when you consider that the earliest evidence of gambling dates back to Ancient China 200bc then this comes as no surprise.

Many forms of gambling games were illegal and played underground away from the gaze of authorities back in these Ancient civilizations and eventually the need to control these games and place them in one safe environment led to the invention of the first casino in Italy in the 17th century. By the 19th century casino sites spread throughout Europe and in America informal gambling houses appeared. Some came in the form of steamboats that took wealthy traders up and down the Mississippi.

Gambling Bans and Society

In 1910 the growing popularity of gambling and the success of early slot machines led to a moral backlash in America that caused the outright banning of gambling. This was similar to the alcohol prohibition era of the same time. What this did was to drive the entire industry underground where it could not be regulated and this of course attracted the attention of organized crime gangs. It took the Wall Street crash and the Great Depression of the 1930s for authorities to make gambling legal again. The long ban fueled illegal gambling dens and secret casinos and even to this day, a lot of online gambling is still illegal in America. What America has proved is that complete gambling bans rarely work but it is not just in the U.S where illegal gambling has flourished throughout history.

South Korea

Gambling is illegal in most parts of South Korea, yet in the abandoned mining district of Gangwon you can gamble. Casinos do exist up and down the country but they are reserved for tourists only. Despite these laws, illegal casinos have operated in the country and in May 2016 the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency announced that they had uncovered one of the biggest illegal gambling dens the country had ever seen. It took five years of police working behind the scenes to shut down this giant illegal operation. The difference here was that the illegal gambling did not take place in one fixed casino, the entire operation had multiple locations that were used as casinos and this tactic was used to help hide the operation from the authorities. This gambling racket was thought to be behind 70 percent of all illegal gambling in Seoul and $12 million in bets a day was taken by this operation. The organized criminals behind this racket were thought to have made $25 million in profits by attracting high rollers to their illegal mobile casino. Others who fell foul of the law include the notorious Frank Rosenthal who ran large illegal casinos and sports betting rings in Las Vegas until he was eventually arrested.

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