In most states across the US, it is not legal to operate your own poker room. However, this does not stop criminal organizations or groups of individuals from hosting games for profit. The most recent bust involving illegal poker gaming comes out of New York in the Manhattan District. A room above a Journelle lingerie shop busted for hosting illegal poker games as part of an underground gambling club.
According to office of Cyrus Vance Jr, the Manhattan District Attorney, the gambling room was busted and police found three tables operating games of Texas Hold’em. The criminal complaint states that the vice squad of the NYPD received a search warrant for the property and then on the 25th of August raided the room on 3 East 17th Street.
During the bust, police found 15 men playing poker with many chips on the table. Three people were arrested in the bust, Jin Feng named as the dealer, Sergio Valentin the operator of the games and Rafael Lugo the floor guy, such as a pit boss at a casino. This type of operation with attention to detail in individuals positions makes it seem also most mafia like or old style gangster, but without the weapons.
Each of the men arrested were charged with promoting gambling, in the second degree. Lugo was also busted for holding marijuana. Apparently, the group regularly smokes weed during the games. According to reports of the bust, employees of the lingerie store would smell the smoke while working in the store. Employees were unaware of the gaming taking place in the room above.
Valentin decided to plead guilty which resulted in a sentence of time served. Feng and Lugo still must face charges and will be back in court by the middle of next month. This is just one of many instances when individuals decide to go their own way and end up getting busted by police.