Police in Rio de Janeiro are cracking down hard on those playing an outlawed illegal gambling game called Jogo do Bicho, Brazil gambling news reports. Police have dealt the hammer blow in a bid to crush the organized crime gangs in the city, say online reports coming out of the country.
The crime gangs are allegedly using Jogo do Bicho, informally known as the animal game, as a smokescreen for money laundering, which is what peeked the local police department’s interest.
Jogo do Bicho is outlawed in twenty five of the twenty six Brazilian states, yet it remains the most popular illegal game in the country in spite of being banned under the Brazilian gambling laws.
The game involves a series of numbered cards each featuring an animal. Players can bet on Cabeza (the winning animal), Dezena (numbers 1-10), Centena (numbers 1-100) and Milhar (numbers 1-1000). There is reportedly no ceiling or roof on any bet that can be placed. Each animal is assigned a series of four consecutive numbers which are then drawn for the lottery.
The game, which is run as an illegal lottery has also been condemned for being unfair in the past. Many dealers will simply cancel bets if too many people place wagers on the same bet to avoid paying out a ridiculously large sum of money that they simply do not have, taking the staked wagers with them. Pay points for the game can be found across the city, and are often as simple as a dealer sitting on a stool in the street.
The game itself was invented in 1892 by the founder and owner of Rio de Janeiro’s Rio Zoo, Joao Batista Viana Drummond. Jogo do Bicho was styled as a way to raise money from the expensive zoo, to save it from bankruptcy. Re-organized as an illegal lottery in the early nineties by crime gangsters and the mob, it has since become regional.
It isn’t the first time that the game, even more popular than illegal internet betting in Brazil, has been raided. In 1994, police raided Castor de Andrade’s place in Bangu and found over 200 account books and 167 computer floppy disc detailing immaculate records of his Jogo do Bicho activities. It revealed that millions can be made through this illegal game, something the crime mob had been feared to be doing for quite some time.
There had been even talk of legalizing with official legislation a state run version of this popular Brazilian cultural lottery, but those plans fell through following disagreements over how it would be run, with the general consensus feeling there was no realistic way to legally run Jogo do Bicho.