Tokyo Police Work to Shut Down Illegal Baccarat Facilities
The police in Tokyo have raided another illegal baccarat facility, shutting down the business and making four arrests.
Operating an illegal gambling business in any country is a big no-no. When individuals are caught in the act, it usually starts with an investigation due to an anonymous tip, then a raid and arrests are made. In Tokyo, police have been working hard to shut down illegal gambling operations. Spots are popping up everywhere, offering players a gambling option, even back when the coronavirus pandemic first started. Just recently, police shut down an illegal baccarat gambling spot, a casino that was pulling in around $66,500 a month in revenues.
Details of the Bust
The latest bust involves a casino that was operating since January. Even when the pandemic began, they continued to offer services. The operator offered players hand sanitizer to wash their hands and face masks for protection. Surprisingly, players were told by employees that the virus does not spread with underground gambling and people seemed to believe it.
The facility was operating in the Kabukicho district, a spot known for offering brothels and entertainment, basically adult-oriented options. The raid that took place in the facility was one of several since the first of the year. During the raid, four employees and two baccarat players were arrested.
Back in September, the police in Tokyo raised another casino spot, also located in the Kabukicho area. The manager of this operation was Toru Inomata. He was charged with letting players access slots and baccarat via a foreign website.
Also last month, police in Japan arrested Chizuka Yamamoto, an individual who is suspected of being a top boss in the Yakuza. He was accused of operating a high stakes baccarat den in Tokyo. Three individuals suspected of being associates of Yamamoto were charged as well.
Yamamoto’s operation was set up in Roppongi and ran from January 2019 until this past July when it was shut down. The neighborhood where this facility is located is known for providing entertainment. The casino was able to operate for a long period of time and it was estimated that as much as $4.5 million was earned during that time.
Going back even further, to July, a total of 18 people was arrested during a raid, this one also involving illegal baccarat. This raid took place in Saitama, a region just outside of Tokyo.
Casinos are Coming
In Japan, casinos are coming, it is just taking longer than expected. The country is planning to approve gaming licenses for three commercial properties. The integrated resorts will be the first time that legalized casino gaming will be offered in the country.
However, the licensing process has been delayed for several reasons. One is the obvious, the coronavirus pandemic. When the pandemic hit, it caused consideration of companies to be slowed, with the deadline for application submissions now pushed back another year, to April 28, 2022.
The original period for submission was supposed to be over by June 2021. Several locations are competing for an integrated resort, including Nagasaki, Osaka, Wakayama and Yokohama.
A second reason why the process is being delayed is due to a government official making a bad decision. Tsukasa Akimoto was over the process of legalizing casinos in Japan and decided now was a good time to take bribes. He alleged accepted over $28,000 from a company in China that was interested in operating a casino in Japan. Akimoto still claims he is innocent and did not accept any bribes.
Once the legalized casinos open, which will more than likely be a few more years, the illegal gambling dens in the country should cease to exist, or at least just die down a little. Top operators have shown interest in operating the facilities, including the Las Vegas Sands. However, the company pulled out once the allegations of bribery emerged involving the licensing process.