The biggest illegal casinos in history

The biggest illegal casinos in history

From Alex Roy

Want to know something fascinating? Before the Casino di Venezia was established in 16th century Venetian republic casinos around the world simply did not exist

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Want to know something fascinating? Before the Casino di Venezia was established in 16th century Venetian republic casinos around the world simply did not exist, and by extension of that most gambling was therefore illegal. Now, that is incredible when you consider the extreme popularity of casino gambling nowadays – who would have thought that casinos were still so young relatively speaking? 

In the 21st century casinos are everywhere, residing both in reality and online with new casino site popping in. There are, therefore, a huge amount of avenues for gamblers to do their bidding legally in the present day, however at the same time illegal casinos are still pretty common in some places. Wherever gambling is illegal you will find them, and sometimes even if it is legal you can too. Read ahead for some of the biggest illegal casinos in history.

1800s Central Europe 

As we mentioned, the first casino to appear in the world was in Venice, and afterwards these establishments started proliferating across Central Europe quite quickly. By the 1800s there were a number of casinos across France and Germany in particular, most of them owned by the powerful Blanc family.

Now, at this time these casinos were not illegal, however everything would change after the immensely popular game of roulette entered the fray. This turned gamblers bonkers, and it brought in so much revenue that the authorities were starting to worry about families such as the Blanc family. They ended up illegalising casinos, and before the Blanc family could move their business to the safe haven of Monte Carlo their casinos were completely illegal. 


Gambling in South Korea is largely illegal, apart from in when very distance region that was once home to a mining settlement called Gangwon. Unsurprisingly the population isn’t really willing to travel so far to do their gambling, and this has led to the development of several underground gambling rings in Seoul over the last few decades. 

In 2016 South Korean busted one of the largest illegal gambling rings the country had ever seen after several years of tracking. The gang was controlling up to 80% of all of Seoul’s illegal gambling, and amazingly they were bringing in $12 million a day in various bets. This resulted in a profit of almost $30 million every year. Crazy! 


The fall of the Soviet Union brought with it an insane amount of cultural, societal and political changes in Russia, and one of those things was the reintroduction of gambling across the huge Eurasian country. As you might well imagine, this excited millions of Russian residents, who quickly took to the art of gambling, resulting in an industry that was worth over $6 billion! There was one downside though, gambling addictions skyrocketed, and in 2009 Vladimir Putin decided to outlaw it. 

You know what happens next, don’t you? The Russian authorities left a few regions where gambling was legal, however these were all incredibly remote. Hence the proliferation of various underground illegal casinos in places like Moscow and St. Petersburg.

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