The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department busted a clandestine casino in a Tokyo apartment. Police arrested six individuals, who were in their forties and fifties, and charged them with operating an underground gambling establishment from a tower block in the Roppongi district in Tokyo. Police also apprehended two customers, a male and a female, who were at the scene when they arrived.
According to local reports, these arrests are part of a larger operation aimed at cleaning up Tokyo from all types of gang-related activities ahead of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Organized Illegal Baccarat and Poker Games
Police made the arrests on 14 June and alleged the six men for running an illegal casino from their luxury condominium. According to the police report, the individuals organized illegal gambling on baccarat and poker.
Police seized several baccarat and poker tables from the condo during the raid. They ignored the pleas of the men running the casino who were saying that they were actually operating a Casino School.
The men ran the underground gambling venue from an 80-square-meter two-bedroom apartment whose market value is estimated to be around US$1.8 million.
As with most other clandestine casinos, they didn’t advertise the casino and attracted customers via word of mouth. The tight security that the luxury condominium had also helped the men to remain undetected by hiding in plain sight.
Interestingly, most illegal Tokyo casinos, and there are quite a lot of them, operate from buildings with a lot of tenants. That allows casino owners to remain undetected for longer periods of time.
When neighbours become suspicious, the people that run these casinos move to a different multi-tenant building. According to local sources, these casinos relocate to a different apartment building every few months to avoid being detected.
Travel Restrictions Have Increased the Number of Illegal Casinos
The customers that frequent these illegal casinos are middle-aged men, and most of them own a business, so they usually have the necessary resources to gamble. However, in recent years, the number of young and not so affluent individuals visiting these casinos has increased too.
According to an insider, this is due to people being unable to travel and partake in the overseas casino adventure that was an integral part of Japanese tourists’ visits to places such as Australia, Manila, or Singapore.
With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, though, it is to be expected that more Japanese gamblers will be allowed to travel freely, and the number of these illegal casinos will decrease.
However, while underground Tokyo casinos might become fewer in number, it is unlikely that they will disappear completely. According to a person who runs one such casino, the monthly revenue associated with these illegal gambling establishments can be as high as JPY100 million, which is more than US$900,000. And that’s more than enough to motivate casino owners to try to evade the long arm of the law in the future too.
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