So the Syndicate is not the Orion government in current Trek Lit? I've seen several other sources say the Syndicate was their government, and I always thought that seemed a bit odd.
The Orion Syndicate was always portrayed in DS9 as a criminal organization, not a state. It was only in ENT that the Syndicate was implied to be a government. And we know that the Orion government in the TOS era was studiously neutral as a cover for its piratical activities. From Silent Weapons
, it looks like that neutrality has become a reality by the 24th century and there's more separation between the Syndicate and the state than there once was.
I daresay that the Syndie was probably always a criminal organization, but that in the past it had so many politicians in its pocket that it effectively ran the state. SW suggested that there was still a fair amount of corruption, but that it wasn't as pervasive as that anymore.