August 17, 2022 3 min read


NY Shoe Repair Doubled as an Illegal Casino

Sal’s Shoe Repair, a shoe repair shop in New York, allegedly doubled as an illegal Mafia-owned casino, the police found out. According to the law enforcers, the family which operated the gambling venue was earning substantial revenues from the illegal operations. Prosecutors claim that the ringleaders would then launder the earned money through cash transfers.

A Detective Helped the Illegal Venue

When the police busted the shop, they arrested nine people. Most of them were related to the Genovese and Bonanno organized crime families that ran the shop. The arrestees were charged with various gambling-related offenses and racketeering. Sal himself, real name Salvatore Rubino, was also among the people apprehended by the law enforcers.

Among the arrestees was a man named Hector Rosario, who works as a local police detective. Rosario abused his powers to protect the Bonanno family and its operations. In addition, he would often organize police raids on competitor locations, thus helping his patrons thrive. Because of his transgressions, Rosario was charged with lying to the federal police and obstructing a grand jury investigation.

Other arrestees include Anthony Pipitone from the Bonnano family and Carmelo Polito from the Genovese family.

There Were Other Such Illegal Venues

It turns out that Sal’s Shoe Repair was not the only unlicensed gambling venue. Other similar establishments operated behind the façade of a coffee bar called Gran Caffe and a soccer club called La Nazionale Soccer Club. Some of these shops, according to the prosecution, have been operating since May 2012.

Michael Driscoll, assistant director-in-charge for the FBI, noted that the five big crime families continue singing the same old song. Driscoll then pointed out that those families are not opposed to joining forces and working together to “squeeze money” from their victims. Lastly, the FBI official said that the fact the families had an accomplice among the police shows they are ready to do everything to keep their fraud going.

Meanwhile, Breon Peace, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said the arrests show that the Mafia is as active as ever. He accused the criminals of continuously “polluting the local communities with illegal gambling, extortion and violence” and exploiting the financial system.

Gambling crimes continue to plague the regulated gambling industry and give headaches to regulators and law enforcers alike. Sadly, many crimes result in someone getting hurt. This can range from robberies and tax crimes to straight-up murder cases.


Yasmin is an iGaming and gaming journalist with over 10 years of writing about various publications. Her experience spans the entirety of iGaming, traditional sports, as well as online poker. She is well-versed in every aspect of online gaming and her wealth of knowledge provides additional substance to our coverage.

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