Does The Mafia Still Exist in 2023?

[October 2023]

In the 1980s, the Mafia seemed to be everywhere – in popular culture, news headlines, and even on the silver screen. It was an era when the exploits of mobsters and organized crime families captured the imagination of millions. Fast-forward to 2023, and the Mafia has largely receded into the shadows, leaving many to wonder: Does the Mafia still exist in this day and age?

Rise and Fall of the Mafia

The rise and fall of the Mafia's prominence can be traced through the decades, with a myriad of factors contributing to its decline. Let's take a journey through time, from the height of its power in the '80s to the present day, and explore the reasons behind its recession.

The 1980s: A Golden Era for the Mafia

The 1980s were undoubtedly the heyday of the Mafia's influence in the United States. Pop culture icons like "The Godfather" and "Goodfellas" immortalized the mobster lifestyle, while news stories chronicled their exploits.

During this era, the Mafia wielded substantial power, controlling vast criminal enterprises, including drug trafficking, extortion, and illegal gambling. Their reach extended into the political sphere, with allegations of corruption and infiltration of law enforcement agencies. Gambling was traditionally their biggest earner.

Does The mafia still exist today? Mafia Hierarchy showing state of a Mafia in 2024 with members jailed, dead, or scattered.

The Recession into Shadows

As we moved into the '90s and beyond, the Mafia began to face a series of setbacks and challenges that pushed it further into obscurity. Some key factors contributing to this decline include:

  • Racketeering Prosecutions: The Mafia faced a relentless onslaught of racketeering prosecutions, thanks in large part to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act of 1970. This legislation allowed authorities to target not only individual criminals but also entire criminal organizations. As a result, many high-ranking mobsters found themselves behind bars, leading to the dismantling of numerous Mafia families.
  • The Decline of Traditional Rackets: The emergence of new criminal enterprises, such as cybercrime and international drug cartels, diminished the Mafia's dominance in traditional illicit activities. While they once controlled entire industries, the mob found themselves competing with new, more sophisticated criminal players.
  • Internal Conflicts: Infighting and power struggles within the Mafia weakened its unity and ability to operate effectively. As rival factions battled for control, the organization's strength waned.

One notable aspect of the Mafia's decline is the impact of RICO prosecutions. Since the enactment of the RICO Act, thousands of individuals associated with organized crime have been charged under its provisions. In fact, between 1970 and 2020, there were over 5,000 RICO cases filed in federal courts across the United States, resulting in a significant number of convictions and lengthy prison sentences for mobsters.

But what about the present day? Has the Mafia disappeared entirely, or does it still maintain a presence in the criminal underworld?

Present Day: A Shadowy Existence

So, does the Mafia still exist in 2023? The answer is complex. While it no longer holds the same sway over organized crime as it once did, remnants of the Mafia continue to operate in the shadows. They've adapted to modern challenges, embracing digital technology and maintaining a low profile to evade law enforcement.

The Mafia Moves Online

In the gaming world, websites like provide a digital realm for enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the world of organized crime. From role-playing as mobsters, to discussing relevant mafia stories when they crop up in the news.

Mafia organizations themselves also move online. They take advantage of tax havens and strained international policing efforts, and the harms caused through chronic gambling are largely hidden from view. This Modus Operandi is also gets applied to other illegal activities online. Unlike in the 80's though, there's a lot more competition providing these services.

The Changing Face of RICO

One notable development in recent years has been the use of the RICO Act to target not only traditional organized crime families but also individuals and entities outside of the underworld. In a landmark case that garnered significant attention, former President Donald Trump faceS allegations of RICO violations in connection with his business dealings. Co-incidentally, this is not the first time Trump has been prosecuted under the RICO act, the first being in 2013. Once described as the Act that defines "The Crime of Being a Criminal", RICO now sees an average of 800 prosecutions a year. Fewer and fewer of them appear to be Mafia-related now, with more targeted at corporate corruption.

The Mafia's Legacy

Enthusiasts who visit may find themselves drawn to the nostalgia of a bygone era, where the Mafia reigned supreme in the criminal underworld. Today, the Mafia's influence may have waned, but its legacy endures in the annals of history and the imaginations of gamers and crime enthusiasts alike.


As we reflect on the rise and recession of the Mafia, it's clear that organized crime continues to evolve in the ever-changing landscape of the 21st century. While the mob may no longer dominate the headlines, its shadowy existence persists, reminding us that the battle against organized crime is an ongoing saga.