Gambling has been a part of society since before it was legal. Back in the more archaic days of the casino, you would find one in the back of a seedy pub, shrouded in secrecy. You’d only have access to the underground casino by going with somebody you knew. 

In the first place, you’d have only heard of it from someone you knew who already attended.

Unlike online casinos like, these gambling hotspots were illegal, and still are. The underground casino itself was the place to be for anyone who wanted to put some money down on Roulette games, Card games and other Casino games. 

Now, we’re lucky to live in an age where laws and regulations are more flexible than ever before. But still, underground casinos exist. But what exactly is going on in those and how much do they affect the casino industry? 

The A-list in the underground casino 

Despite living in a time where legal gambling is commonplace in most locations across the globe due to the rise of the Online casino, underground casinos still continue. You’d think with the accessibility of an Online casino, where the Best slots can be played at the tap of a finger, there’d be no need for risky underground casinos. 

The appeal of an underground casino now comes down to more than wanting to escape prohibiting laws. Illegal gambling conjures up a particular vision, mostly inspired by Hollywood movies portraying opulent underground casinos. In these action-packed thrillers, the cops show up and everyone runs out, whisking away heaps of cash - it’s a well-known image. 

Indeed, this kind of reputation that the underground casino has could be partly why they’re still going today, even in the age of the Online casino. Most online casino operations try their best to live up to the Hollywood stereotype. 

In April 2013 police busted a high-stakes celebrity Card games ring hosting A-listers among the likes of Alex Rodriquez, Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio. These underground casinos weren’t taking place in seedy locations, but in some of New York City’s most illustrious hotels. 

The real world underground casino 

The reality of underground casinos for us mortals in the real world is a lot more average. In your regular underground casino, there will simply be some of the regular Fruit slot machines, other kinds of electronic gambling machines like pinball, and Card games. The underground casino will also likely be housed in a smoky bar after lock-in, a warehouse, or an internet cafe. 

There might also be a row of “sweepstakes” machines too, and all of these games will be without the perks that a legitimised casino offers its punters. This debunks the underground casinos reputation as the pull for gamblers in the real world, so what else is it that could be the reason they’re still going strong? 

In 2019, the New York Times published an article about a seedy underground Texas casino which upholds the typical reputation that the average person believes an underground casino has. Punters were sipping on fizzy pops and eating crisps while 75 Fruit slot machines were rhythmically fed coins inside what had once been a tire shop. 

A report which studied recent illegal gambling busts in the US and elsewhere suggested that the lure of the underground casino was convenience, choice and conversations. All of these factors played a big role in why those gamblers were choosing to go with an underground casino. 

Other reasons people choose an underground casino 

Racial ties or ethical bonds also played a part in the attraction of underground casinos for many punters who wanted to play traditional games and not the regular Casino games. This was the case for a bust that occurred again in 2013 in Boston’s Chinatown where Chinese immigrants were gambling in three underground casinos. 

Vietnamese gamblers were also running video game machines at 11 cafes in the San Francisco Bay area at the time. However, one finance professor at Boston college and an expert on gambling says that in the US the reason is more the positive shift around public attitudes towards gambling. 

Indeed over the recent decades at least, the government has been progressively legalising and introducing taxes on games that had once been illegal. But who runs an underground casino and why? Somebody who wants big rewards - a study from 1999 by a gambling authority estimated that illegal gambling in the US was at the time a $150 billion a year business. 

In addition, a study from 2014 by an authority on international sports security estimated the sports betting market brought in $280 billion to $680 billion each year. With these kind of monetary gains, even a small slice of the pie can prove to be pretty lucrative and this greatly adds to the appeal of the underground casino. 

The effect of the underground casino on the gambling industry 

It’s clear to see that there are a lot of reasons people go to an underground casino. The revenue that’s made, the connections, and in some cases the punters just prefer the games over the traditional Casino games. For many, these are all worthy reasons to risk prison or lifelong fines just to play their favourite games in a seedy underground casino. 

This can be bad news for the casino and gambling industry in general, as the underground casino is taking customers and the casino industry’s potential revenue. It’s also bad news for punters who may become disillusioned after playing at an underground casino, only to be swindled, or worse. 

But it seems nowhere is completely safe from the underground casino. For example, you can find an online casino that hasn’t been licensed. Over the web, any online casino can be reviewed and this is a good place to start to make sure that you go to a legitimate online casino. Otherwise, stick to the best land-based casinos and you won’t be caught out by the trappings of an underground casino.

Author's Bio: 

A writer from Houston.