There was once a time when gamblers in the United States had to travel to a specific location in order to wager money on games of chance. With the rise of online gambling, the landscape has changed somewhat — but there could be bigger changes still to come. It’s entirely possible that the coming years might see casinos in New York City, for instance. But just because gambling is legal in some places doesn’t mean it’s legal everywhere — and illegal casinos are still very much a thing.
The Los Angeles Times recently chronicled an increasing number of illegal casinos in Los Angeles. These casinos, known as “casitas,” feature electronic gambling and act as what writer Matthew Ormseth describes as “modern-day speakeasies” — located within structures where people might go about their business every day, wholly unaware of the activities taking place there.
At issue here is the fact that organized crime benefits from these casinos — and that their existence has led to people involved with them being killed in the crossfire. And while the concept of casinos where people come to play a game where they catch digital fish for fun and profit doesn’t sound like the sort of thing that could lead to murder, the article cites a number of occasions where this is precisely what took place.
Four Years After Sports Gambling Went Legal Nationwide, Americans Have Wagered $125 BillionThe industry remains in flux
It’s one of several ways in which gambling remains a legal flashpoint for state and local governments — and one for which there are few easy answers. That the illegal casino situation in Los Angeles has turned violent on several occasions is especially worrisome, however.
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