Police Raid Illegal Poker Den Tied to Yakuza

1 month ago
Police Raid Illegal Poker Den Tied to Yakuza
09:39
08 May

Tokyo police have raided an underground poker game and seized poker tables, chips and cash, the illegal den reputed to be run by Japan’s infamous shadowy criminal network, the Yakuza.

An anonymous tip-off led Tokyo’s Metropolitan police to an apartment close to the JR Kinshicho railway station in the Sumida area of the Japanese capital.

There they found two tables set up for poker, and arrested the 43-year-old male Korean manager, two female dealers aged 19 and 20, as well as four male players.

TV Asahi has reported that the manager has confessed to allegations of “providing illegal gambling”, with the poker game “believed to have collected 12 million yen (US$110,000) in revenue.”

The proceeds are believed to have been funnelled to the Yakuza, the nation’s biggest organized crime syndicate, who are behind many of the country’s attempts to circumvent strict laws on gambling and casinos.

However, with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics re-scheduled for this coming summer, police have been actively clamping down on illegal activity.


Last October saw a similar raid in the city’s Kabukicho district, an area renowned for its “adult entertainment”. Four employees and two Baccarat players were arrested, with Inside Asian Gaming reporting that the casino was taking roughly US$66,500 per month.

Players, who were given masks and hand sanitizer on entering the illegal gambling den, were reportedly told by employees that COVID-19 “is not spread by underground gambling.”

Another casino in the area was raided the previous month, according to the English-language news site Tokyo Reporter with the manager and three players charged.

In September, Tokyo police additionally raided an alleged casino, which was also in the city’s Kabukicho entertainment area. Three players were charged.

Chizuka Yamamoto, reputed to be a top Yakuza boss, was also arrested in September, accused of running a highstakes Baccarat den in the Roppongi area of the city. Police stated that the illicit operation brought in some $4.5 million per year.

Several other raids and arrests last year coincided with a campaign to change the onerous gambling laws, although that received a setback when Japan’s former Vice Minister for Tourism was arrested during a Tokyo raid on a gambling den.

Tsukasa Akimoto had previously been in charge of the country’s casino resorts initiative, but was charged with accepting bribes from a Chinese gaming company.


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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more

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