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Criminal Resource Manual

2085. Syndicated Gambling

  1. Syndicated Gambling: Sections 801-811 of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, which amended Title 18, United States Code, by adding Sections 1511 and 1955, are designed to combat "illegal gambling business" or syndicated gambling. Title 18, U.S.C. § 1511 is directed at the political and police corruption which makes widespread illegal gambling possible, while Title 18, U.S.C. § 1955 is directed at the illegal gambling itself.
  2. Basis for Federal Jurisdiction: Congress enacted this legislation pursuant to its power to regulate interstate commerce. In so doing, Congress made the finding that illegal gambling does involve widespread use of and does have an effect upon interstate commerce. Hence, the Federal Government has jurisdiction to initiate investigations and prosecutions of persons conducting large scale illegal gambling businesses without showing that the proscribed activity has affected interstate commerce. Perez v. United States, 402 U.S. 146 (1971); United States v. Sacco, 491 F.2d 995 (9th Cir. 1974); United States v. Harris, 460 F.2d 1041, 1048 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 877 (1972); Schneider v. United States, 459 F.2d 540 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 877 (1972).
  3. Scope of Federal Jurisdiction: Congress did not intend to occupy the field of illegal gambling exclusively nor to relieve local law enforcement bodies of their obligations to enforce local gambling provisions. The syndicated gambling laws are directed only at those individuals who operate gambling businesses of major proportions: selection of targets for investigation and prosecution should be made on that basis. See United States v. Hawes, 529 F.2d 472 (5th Cir. 1976); United States v. Riehl, 460 F.2d 454, 458 (3d Cir.1972).
  4. Investigative and Supervisory Jurisdiction: Investigative jurisdiction for violations of the syndicated gambling provisions is vested in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In investigating, the FBI is authorized under 18 U.S.C. § 2516 to intercept wire or oral communications pursuant to court order. See USAM 9-7.000 (Electronic Surveillance). The FBI will normally recommend approval for electronic surveillance based solely on gambling violations if the matter under investigation involves organized crime, the corruption of public officials, or the gambling business is substantial and considered extraordinary for the region. The services of the FBI laboratory are available both to analyze any physical evidence seized and to support expert testimony at the time of trial.

Supervision of prosecutions under these statutes, including investigations and service of warrants, is vested in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section.

[cited in USAM 9-110.600]