Gambling and organized crime: A review of the literature

Abstract

This paper was written to review the literature on the historical relationship between gambling and organized crime (OC) in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries; examine the current state of affairs; point out gaps in the knowledge; and above all draw attention to this understudied topic. The paper begins with an examination of the different sources of information examined, including law enforcement reports, participant observation studies, psychological and economic studies of the links between gambling and crime, historical studies of gambling and crime, and a number of commission reports. The paper then provides an overview of OC and definitions of OC and gambling. This is followed by a discussion of the history of OC and its historic links to gambling. The paper ends with a discussion of the contemporary setting and directions for future research. Our literature review was written in part to facilitate further research and thereby help rectify a shortcoming in overall efforts to understand and document gambling-related issues.

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