The Chicago Syndicate is composed of multiple large Italian Mafia families operating in roughly 15-20 states in America. Made famous by its one time leader, Al Capone, it continues to this day, churning out billions of dollars in illicit profits.
The Syndicate doesn’t trust, forget or forgive and for a non-Italian to gain their respect is almost unheard of. Failure meant eternal rest at the bottom of a lake with the victims feet encased in ‘cement shoes’.
Yet for close to 40 years, the two boss-of-bosses of the Chicago Mafia Syndicate went to only one man for advice on ways to maximize profits from any type of gambling operation.
That man, played by actor Robert De Niro in the critically acclaimed movie ‘Casino’, was Frank ‘Lefty’ Rosenthal. Lefty was the most infamous sports handicapper, illegal lottery operator and a bookmaker who set the odds used by all illegal bookies in the Syndicate. When he bet on sports, he practically always won.
Lefty was known to say – “When you run a gambling operation, doesn’t matter if its lottery or a dice game, the house has a huge edge. It is mathematically impossible to lose money unless someone is stealing or is completely incompetent. Whichever way, they must be removed.’
This is powerful advice coming from a man who in a single year doubled the profits of six Las Vegas casinos and a countless number of other gambling ventures.
Yesterday, on the other side of the world, the Prague’s Municipal Court declared the Czech lottery operator Sazka SA insolvent.
The lottery operator managed to lose 606 million US dollars in just seven years in an industry where a yearly 20% profit is considered a disgrace. According to official reports, Sazka has a 94.3% house advantage. This pitiful performance is being lampooned on all online sportsbooks in Czech Republic.
The court set May 26 as the day when Sazka will have to meet its creditors and explain what went so terribly wrong. The lottery operator’s main creditors are banks and hedge funds who invested in the company’s bonds.
Under Czech gambling laws, Sazka has three months to come up with a restructuring plan or begin asset liquidation.
The company was allowed to continue operating as well as permitted to issue high yield ‘junk bonds’ to continue paying out future prizes.
Instead of being taken on a fishing trip, after being fitted for a new pair of ’cement shoes’, Sazka’s management will be given another chance to make the lottery profitable. Sazka’s spokesperson described this dubious decision as ‘a logical step’, since the management knows the inner workings of the company best.
Somewhere in gamblers heaven, you can almost hear ‘Lefty’ muttering ‘Oy Vey.’