Unhappy Ending To West Side Story: Columbus Gambling Operation Raided

Posted By Matt Boecker on July 28, 2021

Police in Columbus put an end to an alleged gambling operation on the city’s west side. And they discovered quite the haul.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission and the Columbus Police Department’s Police and Community Together unit worked together to bust the operation, according to a Twitter post by Columbus PD.

Among items confiscated: “lots of cash,” a gun and 98 machines.

With the investigation still ongoing, details of the establishment remain undisclosed.

Continued crackdown on underground gambling operations

A Gates Hill resident faces federal sentencing after an investigation revealed his illegal bookmaking operation and money laundering. William Mangelluzzi pled guilty to the charges alleging he played a vital role in the crimes committed.

While no further details have been released, it’s assumed the key contributors in the Columbus gambling den will face similar charges for their actions.

Columbus Ohio Police Tweet

Operations like the two mentioned above are the most recent examples of illegal-yet-thriving gambling operations in the Buckeye State. And they’re likely just the tip of the iceberg.

Neighboring states like Pennsylvania, Indiana and Illinois have churned out hundreds of million dollars in revenue with the legalization of sports betting and online casino gambling. Of course, Ohio aspires to join that crowd, specifically regarding regulated wagering.

Current state of sports betting in Ohio

Despite a heavy push before lawmakers took summer break on June 30, sports betting remains illegal in Ohio. But rest assured, Ohioans, legalization may be on the horizon.

Rep. Brigid Kelly told PlayOhio she’s hopeful significant progress will be made in preparation for lawmakers to return from break on Sept. 15.

“I believe the plan is to work on it over the summer and to be ready with a report on which to vote this fall.”

Eric Schippers, vice president of Penn National Gaming, voiced his company’s support for a sports betting bill in Ohio as well.

Work remains, of course, when lawmakers reconvene in the fall. Just keeping the conversation alive, though, is a positive sign. As Schippers told PlayOhio:

“We’re pleased that it sounds like they are going to be working on it in conference over the summer, and encouraged by Speaker (Bob) Cupp’s comments that this will be at the top of his list of priorities when they come back.”

It wouldn’t completely eradicate all the illegal gambling currently taking place in Ohio. But passing legislation to legalize sports betting would certainly be a start.

And it would provide the state with a safer and better way to gamble.

Photo by Dreamstime
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Matt Boecker

Born in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Matt graduated from Northern Illinois University, where he covered NIU hockey for the Northern Star. Since then, Matt has specialized in NFL and NBA coverage for various websites and podcasts before shifting gears to casino and sports betting coverage.

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