Another mafia-run gambling network has been broken up in Italy, with police this time citing links to Curaçao, Romania and Malta.
Illegal gambling businesses centred around the city of Salerno and connected to the Camorra mafia were shut down by Italy’s Antimafia Prosecutor’s Office and the Carabinieri police force in January.
The Carabinieri, supported by police in Panama, Romania and Malta, arrested 33 people accused of running a highly profitable unlicensed betting ring.
Another 40 people remain under investigation but have not been arrested, police said.
Alleged crimes include criminal conspiracy, illegal betting, fraudulent conveyance of assets and money laundering.
Officials have also connected some of the charges directly to actions that aided the Casalesi mafia family, which means they incur harsher punishments.
Police said that thousands of players were using the mafia betting network, some based outside Italy, generating turnover of around €5bn over two years.
The businesses did not acquire gambling licences or make themselves known to tax authorities.
A 690-page police report seen by VIXIO GamblingCompliance says that criminal operators used only cash or the Skrill payment system, which allowed money transfers through a simple exchange of emails.
Bets were placed online by shop managers on behalf of players, meaning gamblers did not need to identify themselves, police said. Administration of the network was handled across a series of Skype chats, records show.
Access to the betting platforms was possible through devices called “totems”, mostly installed in venues in Southern Italy.
The man alleged to be at the head of the criminal enterprise was Luigi Giuseppe Cirillo, already a known associate of the Italian mafia.
Police said the network was managed through an IT platform created in the early 2000s by Luigi Tancredi, known as “Gino” and a prominent figure in the gambling industry, who also founded the poker platforms Dollaro and Dbg.
Dbg Limited N.V. was present at the London ICE trade show in 2015 marketing a form of electronic poker table.
When Tancredi was arrested for the first time in 2013, police believe Cirillo replaced him, developing the “dgbpoker” online gambling business with backing from the Casalesi mafia family, based in Casal di Principe near Naples.
Individuals cited as persons of interest by police include several gambling industry figures, alongside Tancredi.
These include Gino Pennetta, former owner of Easy World and Betatomic.it as well as the founder of several companies in Curaçao, and Angelo Reponi, manager of Bookmakerfuture and the owner and founder of a number of Maltese companies.
Geraldina and Nicola Femia, already sentenced in another mafia case in Northern Italy, are also named as part of the illegal betting ring.