Gardena Police Department Uproots Underground Gambling Operation In Early Morning Raid

Posted By Matt Boecker on September 17, 2021

The Gardena Police Department upended a local illegal gambling operation last week in an early morning raid.

More than 12 individuals were seen handcuffed outside the building on the 1700 block of West 134th Street. Locals said the now-evicted tenants had a revolving door of people coming in and out of the building day and night.

Neighbors also reported hearing flash-bangs during the raid, used to stun the unsuspecting bettors.

What charges can the perpetrators expect?

An Ohio resident is facing federal sentencing for committing similar offenses. In July, William Mangelluzzi pled guilty to running an underground bookmaking operation and money laundering charges.

It’s unclear if the offenders in Gardena were laundering cash earned from their hole-in-the-wall casino, but similar charges to those brought down on Mangelluzzi are likely to come.

In California, folks learned of the illicit business by word of mouth, according to a report from ABC7 Eyewitness News. One witness to the illegal gambling operation said it ran “like a casino.”

A neighbor reported hearing multiple explosions during the raid. These were likely a result of flash-bang grenades police use to stun their targets.

Pending sports betting legislation in California

The patrons of the Gardena gambling operation are in luck, as the Golden State has nearly 100 card rooms and over 50 tribal casinos across the state for them to frequent. However, sports bettors still need to wait for the state to legalize betting games.

No timeframe is currently in place for legalization, but many proposals have been presented to lawmakers. Currently, there are two active sports betting ballot initiatives in action. The most recent would legalize retail and mobile sports betting for card rooms, tribal casinos, racetracks, and professional sports teams.

Another initiative is already qualified for the Nov. 2022 election. There’s confidence the proposal will pass as Native American tribes back it. However, the proposal limits sports betting to in-person only at racetracks and tribal casinos.

Photo by AP / Mahmud Hossain Opu
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