International Joint Ventures in Organised Crime: Foreign Mafiosi and London Casinos, 1960-79

Activity: Talk or presentationSeminar


Reviewing sixteen years of gambling reform in 1976, the Royal Commission on Gambling credited the Gaming Board of Great Britain with successfully repelling American mafiosi's attempts to turn London's West End into a European Las Vegas. This well-documented campaign provides the evidence for a study of American organised crime groups’ overseas investment strategies. It shows how overlapping partnerships, which had served US bootleggers and gamblers well, remained their preferred method when entering new overseas markets. Bringing British and American entrepreneurs together, these international joint ventures in organised crime pooled risk and shared expertise. They bore little resemblance to the hierarchical vision of La Cosa Nostra then popular with criminologists and law-and-order bureaucrats alike. This finding supports the work of historical criminologist Mark Haller on US gambling, and shows it applicability to international and transnational organised crime. Ultimately, American criminals failed to break into the British gambling scene. The regulatory environment which their presence gave rise to was a hostile one. And the regulators proved resistant to their attempts at regulatory capture. Foreign criminals reduced their stake in the British gaming industry, moving to promising new markets in continental Europe.
Period24 Jan 2018
Held atUniversity of Leeds School of Law, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • Organised crime
  • illegal markets
  • gambling
  • casinos