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Casino gaming has become one of the most highly regulated industries in America. The companies and individuals involved are very carefully scrutinized and held to extremely high standards. The organized crime scare is simply that, a scare according to many observers. Gambling is indeed associated with crime, specifically political corruption.

The casino companies suggest that they are devoid of organized crime influence because they are:

  • Dominated by publicly-held companies, many with household names like Hilton and Sheraton.
  • Answerable to their shareholders who are thousands of individuals and institutional investors.
  • Answerable to the Securities Exchange Commission.
  • Indistinguishable from any other business with accountants, attorneys, payroll specialists, auditors, and market researchers.
  • Licensed and tightly-regulated by state governments.
Nevertheless, there remains an ever present concern about organized crime. The sheer volume of money, cash in particular, that is generated by gambling, makes it a tempting target. Organized crime has been successful infiltrating ancillary businesses such as machine maintenance or those that provide other services. Often labor unions are used as the vehicle to carry out the infiltration. There are examples of organized crime infiltration. For example, as discussed in the section on gambling and politics, the FBI is investigating allegations that Louisiana state legislators took multimillion dollar payoffs to approve an expansion of video poker. The individuals attempting to buy influence were connected to organized crime families.

Researchers state that organized crime is more of a product of illegal or poorly regulated gambling than well-regulated gambling. That is especially worrisome because gambling isn't just done within the large casinos. There are many other gambling opportunities and not all are as well-regulated or as free of organized crime influence as casinos. In California, card rooms and Indian casinos have been a focus of concern about criminal infiltration.

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