Italy: Operation Against Illicit Gambling, 36 Arrests



Following the complaint made by Bari, a small businessman who owns a tobacco shop, regarding threats, extortion, and harassment from D’Ambrogio, the owner of a gaming and entertainment company whose hardship in managing his business activities, and the exclusive installation of his slots machine at the tobacconist’s shop has triggered his harsh actions on Bari, has sprung up investigation by the Economic and Financial police Unit of Bari, together with the Central Organized Crime Investigation Service of Rome against 27 prisoners and 9 people under house arrest. The investigation, which lasted for two years, has revealed that entrepreneurs in the game D’AMBROSE Baldassare, and several criminal organizations in the city of Bari, and a wider view of a corrupt system aimed at imposing the rental of entertainment equipment of the D’Ambrogio company through intimidation. D’Ambrogio, through the support of business relations, has attained a very significant position in the market, where it can exercise monopoly. The company exercises forceful influence as the only one to be contacted for the installation of entertainment devices, after removing installations by other suppliers.

The commission disbursed to the clans depended on the number of slot machines installed at respective areas by the organizations or the revenue generated by each business from the bet made on rented appliances. It was highlighted in the investigation that each device installed collected about 100 euros. Investigations revealed that “Dario” D’AMBROGIO was guilty of engaging in black money movement in illicit act aided by the “Strisciugilo clan”,
an act he perpetrated on his uncle’s behalf in 2012. A sum of 50,000 euros was considerably declared as the amount for the purchase and sale of shares in two gambling halls but investigations put the purchase figure as 430,000 euros paid on monthly instalments of 22,500 euros. Another revelation from the investigation was that the nefarious activities carried out by D’AMBROGIO and his cohorts against small local entrepreneurs who are mostly conductors of gaming machines permitted the payment of rates ranging between 125% and 2000% per year. Meanwhile, it has been established that a seizure of assets estimated at about 7.5 million euros has been made including seizure of 3 “VLT” rooms in Bari, 4 properties, 5 vehicles, 2 business complexes and over 200 financial reports.