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What is 'Skimming'?

Skimming is the illegal practice of syphoning off gambling profits from the casino floor to an outside party in order to avoid paying gaming tax. Skimmed funds are largely untraceable and are often used to fund organised crime syndicates.

'Skimming' Explained

Skimming came to prominence in Las Vegas in the 1960s when it was used to fund mob activities. This came to a head in 1963 when the FBI recorded the practice taking place in “money rooms” along the strip.Although no one could be prosecuted for the crime due to the way evidence had been collected, the subsequent “skimming report” proved to be the beginning of the end of mob rule in Vegas.As a result of the report, the Nevada Tax and the Gaming Commission developed a set of three rules which all casino owners had to abide by.Rule 1: The casino owner is never allowed in the ”money room”. Rule 2: The owner must not be allowed to play games at his own casino. Rule 3: 100% of the money that comes into a casino must be reported as income.One of the most lucrative skimming schemes every recorded involved the Stardust Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. The Stardust had been bought in 1974 by Allen Glick, using money borrowed from the Teamsters Pension fund. At the time, the Teamsters Union was controlled by the mob.Over the next six years, Glick syphoned off between $7 and $15 million. This money was paid to his paymasters, a collection of four mob families from the Midwest.The skimming itself was actually quite a simple process, cash was removed from the money room by couriers sent by the mob. These couriers were never challenged, questioned or even acknowledged as they removed cash from the money room. They simply walked in and out with the money, no questions asked.By 1978 the actions of the Stardust had come to the attention of the police, who began monitoring activities there. On February 14th 1979, they were ready to move and raided the home of Carl DeLuna, one of the mob's overseers, who had responsibility for the money skimmed from the Stardust.The information from DeLuna's home was enough to bring action against the casino and its owners. At a subsequent trial, a Federal Grand Jury returned an eight count indictment against 15 defendants.To this day, the Stardust remains the largest skimming operation ever recorded.