The cancellation of all major sporting events across the entire country has hit the mafia’s illegal gambling business with a historic blow.
“There’s never been a time when they weren’t making money through gambling,” said an insider. “Since the days of Lucky Luciano, when the Five Families started.
When the country was just starting to figure it all out and come to terms with what it needed to do to control the coronavirus, the thought of canceling all major sporting events was absurd. As such, the mafia presumed that their gambling business would be able to continue unscathed, especially seeing as a high percentage of bets these days are placed online.
Then the unimaginable happened. All major sporting events were canceled. The NBA, MLB, March Madness, the NHL, MLS, horse racing, pro golf and many more, all abruptly halted.
Just as abruptly, the mafia’s gambling business came to a screeching halt. A few die-hards were still trying a few wagers on African cricket and Australian soccer (they might want to start thinking about gamblers anonymous), but essentially the illegal gambling scene has dried up. For now.
With the worst of the pandemic still to come, the mafia is already facing losses in the tens of millions of dollars.
It’s not just gambling either. Other mob businesses, of course, are also taking a hit. Restaurant extortion has pretty much stopped as almost all restaurants are closed. Construction scams and rackets brought in big bucks for the mob until Gov. Andrew Cuomo put a stop to all non-essential projects.
Construction is especially important to the mob because they make money in so many different ways related to it like the ports and trucking.
With fewer businesses open, they are generating less trash. Trash collection is a popular mob business and they are definitely feeling the squeeze also.
One of the fears of all this is that these money-hungry made men will soon have no choice but to start selling drugs for which there are still plenty of customers.
Surveillance chatter seems to corroborate this with a lot of talk of pivoting from gambling to drugs.
“A lot of the time, the big topic of conversation would be talking about gambling. That’s dried up,” one source said, “the topic invariably turns to drugs these days.”
But even drug dealing in the times of coronavirus comes with its own set of problems. In the past, a significant amount of product was moved in restaurants, strip clubs, and bars which of course are all closed at the moment.
For over 100 years people have been trying to achieve this kind of shutdown of mob activities starting with NYPD Lt. Joseph Petrosino, who was killed by Sicily’s Black Hand extortion racket in 1909 to then federal prosecutor Rudy Giuliani.
Looks like at the moment, the coronavirus is doing what they could not. However, once the pandemic is over, I’m sure the mafia will be looking to recoup their losses.