Rio's 'jogo do bicho' [gambling] organisation: Brazil's unknown 'cosa nostra'

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About this talk

Damian’s presentation will focus on the importance of understanding the powerful gambling mafias that control Rio and Brazil's 'jogo do bicho'' (animal game) gambling racket. In "Nothing by Accident", Damian Platt describes organised crime in Rio de Janeiro, where he lived and worked for 15 years. The book focuses on the organisers of the city's 130 year old numbers racket, the jogo do bicho [animal game]. In his presentation, Platt will explain how the clans behind this organisation undermine law and order and democracy in Brazil, a country where organised crime is rarely discussed in terms beyond favela and prison gangs. This standard narrative criminalises poverty, engenders further violence against poor communities and benefits the jogo do bicho organisers, transnational operators with unchecked power. Understanding the jogo do bicho operation is essential to understanding modern Brazil.

Amy Chazkel

PhD in Latin American History, Yale University; Bernard Hirschhorn Associate Professor of Urban Studies, Columbia University

John Dickie

Author of numerous works on organised crime in Italy, including: Cosa Nostra. A History of the Sicilian Mafia; Mafia Brotherhoods; Mafia Republic.

Damián Zaitch

Organised Crime / drug trafficking in Latin America and the Netherlands


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