December 5, 2021

Police raid on underground poker game in Tokyo with links to Yakuza

An underground Tokyo poker club with links to Japan’s largest organized crime syndicate, Yakuza, was raided after authorities received anonymous reports that the game was helping fund the group.

Several local media report that the game was raided on April 24 and that undisclosed poker tables, chips, playing cards and money were seized. Police said they believed the club had made six-figure profits since last July with those funds supporting the organized crime syndicate.

The club was located in the Sumida Ward area of ​​the city and was run from an apartment building. His manager, as well as four poker players, were taken into custody after the raid.

Poker, and most other forms of gambling, is currently illegal in Japan under Chapter 23 of the Penal Code, according to Legal gambling and the law, which forces players to enter the black market. Online poker is also technically considered illegal, but the government does not actively punish sites that serve Japanese citizens and has never arrested a citizen for gambling online.

In 2018, however, the government passed a law allowing legal and regulated casinos to enter the country. Several of the largest gaming companies in the world have started their plans to obtain one of the three licenses with MGM Resorts winning an offer in February 2020 for a casino in Osaka.

Las Vegas Sands Corp., Melco Resorts and Entertainment, and Wynn Resorts have all said they are trying to win deals for a property in Yokohama or Tokyo, but after the pandemic, Las Vegas Sands Corp. decided to recall his offer.

Neither of the two remaining licenses has yet been assigned and MGM didn’t even innovate in Osaka. Even after the construction of these resorts, underground casinos and poker games like the one recently raided would still be considered illegal.