Law enforcement official uses the recent dismantling of an organised crime sports betting ring to underline the importance of regulated and licensed activity
The acting Attorney General of New Jersey, John J. Hoffman, has come out in support of legalised sportsbetting in the Garden State, saying that rigorous control of the activity through regulation and licensing is essential to prevent criminal organisations from dominating the market and endangering citizens.
The law enforcement official used as an example the recent dismantling of a sports gambling operation operated by members and associates of the notorious Genovese crime family, pointing out that criminals controlled the market through violence and intimidation, behaviour that could be addressed in a regulated environment.
"We have talked before about one of the primary efforts in our sports betting journey that we have been on is to try to bring it out of the black market shadows. The Mafia, the organized crime controlled shadows. And this is exactly where it's happening," Hoffman told local media reporters at a press conference Tuesday.
Supporting Hoffman, New York Harbour Commissioner Michael Murphy said that the Genovese Coppola sports betting ring took over $1.7 million in wagers in 2011 alone.
"When the mafia, when organized crime, takes over and makes money on illegal gambling, where does it go? It doesn't go to property tax relief, it doesn't go to senior citizens, and Medicare or prescription programs," he said.
"It goes to money laundering, it goes to the importation of heroin, and there are kids dying today in New Jersey as a result."
Murphy expanded on his view, referencing the 1920 Prohibition era in the USA when huge sums of money were made by organised crime rings supplying bootleg liquor to satisfy an existing public demand, resulting in extensive enforcement initiatives that could have been usefully employed elsewhere having to be diverted to enforce an ill-advised law.
"People drink and people gamble," Murphy observed. "Some of the families that are still engaged in organized crime today, several generations ago enjoyed enormous profits during a time when drinking was illegal."
Earlier this year, AG Hoffman directed enforcement officials in New Jersey to eschew actions against sports betting being carried by licensed operators within the state. This followed the state Legislature's overwhelming support for intrastate sports betting bills which Gov. Chris Christie has signed into law, triggering litigation by the national sports leagues (see previous InfoPowa reports).
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