Last week 6 Lucchese crime family members pleaded guilty to running a massive sports betting operation. The size and scope of the operation and the amount of time the men will do demonstrates why the Mafia wants to stay in the gambling business.
They took in $2.2 billion in bets in 15 months on sporting events. Here’s a little gambling math for you: they got the Vig right off the top. That is 10 dollars for every 100 dollars wagered. That means IF that were all they made, they took $200 million off the top in 15 months time. Then add in all the cash from parlays and teasers, and it's a much bigger profit.
They did this all using Costa Rican wire rooms and password protected websites that were based on servers in Costa Rica. Gambling is all legal in Costa Rica. In the US it is only okay in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, because there the huge corporations handle it.
There would be few large sporting events without gaming and all the shows and news that go with them.
The Lucchese guys had the wire rooms aka phone banks based in Costa Rica. They give a customer a code name and an 800 number to call in their action. They use local books to recruit customers, collect and pay off. The money never actually makes it to Costa Rica because it is all done in cash in person in local bars. Customers have a password for the website and a username. They will have credit and collect from the bookie during the week.
One of the principals in the operation was Matthew Madonna, a name that many Mafia readers will know. Matty was part of the Pleasant Avenue Connection of heroin selling fame. Matty used to have cars full of heroin dropped off to black heroin kingpin Leroy Nicky Barnes. Nicky would get the keys to the car and later he would drop it back off filled with cash. It was a sweet operation for them, that was later derailed because of Nicky's flashy ways.
Matty went away and was given 30 years for selling heroin. He was summoned before a grand jury but never said a word and was given another year and a half for not cooperating.
Once he was released, he was inducted into the Lucchese family and quickly rose to Capo and soon he was on the ruling panel that ran the family.
Ralph V. Perna was the Capo who ran the New Jersey faction of the Lucchese family which included two of his sons Joseph and John. He follows a long line of guys who ran the family in new Jersey. For awhile Nicky Scarfo’s son was said to be running the faction, but he is down for a long time now. Tumac was the longtime boss until the crazy crack smoker Gaspipe went on his murderous rampage.
Joseph DiNapoli is another Lucchese Capo who went down for the sports betting operation. DiNapoli was also on the ruling panel with Matty. He made big money from labor racketeering and stock fraud. He has two brothers who are made in the Genovese family.
Back to the gambling bust. Marty Taccetta, who is already serving life in prison, will get an extra 8 years tagged on his sentence. All in all it is not that bad. Ralph Perna will get 8 years while his sons will get 10 years. Matty will get 5 years while rest will get 8 years. The time is not a lot for the amount of cash they pulled down. Did the Feds stop sports betting? Not a chance. That is why the lines are posted all over for every event.