Coronavirus takes out a hit on the New York mafia, eliminating its professional sports betting racket, a major source of revenue for the mob.
By World Israel News Staff
The coronavirus has scored a major victory now that major league sports have been sent to their dressing rooms for the season, depriving the mafia of tens of millions of dollars it would have made from illegal betting, the New York Post reported.
The mob had a winning record until the COVID-19 pandemic caused major league and college baseball, hockey, soccer and basketball to suspend their seasons earlier this month.
“There’s never been a time when they weren’t making money through gambling,” a law enforcement insider told the Post. “Since the days of Lucky Luciano, when the Five Families started.”
‘This is historic’
At the beginning of the corona pandemic, it looked like online betting would overcome social distancing restrictions that are keeping people from getting close to their bookies.
Then the sports world came grinding to a halt with postponements and cancellations, including not just major league and college sports, but also horse racing, golf, and even the Olympics, which was postponed until 2021.
Sports betting junkies are in painful withdrawal, but a few dedicated gamblers have tried wagering on African cricket and Australian soccer matches, the Post reported.
With coronavirus infection spreading exponentially in parts of America and predictions that the worst of the pandemic is yet to come, the gambling losses will only pile up.
Mafia coffers have also been hit hard in their other traditional markets, with the taps closing on protection money payoffs for restaurants and construction sites, most of which were closed by an order from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last week, barring some exceptions.
However, one law enforcement insider noted that there are “still deals being made,” referring to the mafia’s investments in illegal drugs. The source noted that recent surveillance indicates the mafia’s possible shift to an increased focus on selling narcotics.
Mob movers have to look for new venues to sell those illicit drugs given that mob-controlled sales points like restaurants, bars and strip clubs have been ordered shut due to the pandemic.
“It’s a shutdown that anti-mob crusaders like U.S. Attorney General Kennedy, then-federal prosecutor [Rudy] Giuliani and pioneering NYPD Lt. Joseph Petrosino — slain by Sicily’s Black Hand extortion racket in 1909 — tried for more than 100 years to achieve,” one source told the Post.
The deadly virus “is doing what they couldn’t do,” one source said.