Anonymous tips to police in Tokyo led to a raid of an underground poker game that was suspected to be connected to the Yakuza, an organized crime syndicate in Japan. According to local media, the game was raided on April 24 and police were able to seize cash, playing cards and chips along with poker tables. Authorities feel that the club was generating large sums of money to fund the Yakuza.
Located in the Sumida Ward, the poker game was running out of an apartment complex. During the raid, police found four players and the room manager, all of which were arrested. Two young female dealers were also arrested, ages 19 and 20.
The club manager was charged with operating an illegal gambling club. Police suspect that over $111,000 in profit has been made from the club and a percentage of that amount was given to the criminal organization since last July.
In Japan, poker and other gambling games are illegal. The Penal Code lists gambling as an illegal activity. When authorities are able to catch illegal operations in the act, they shut it down and anyone involved usually faces charges.
Additional details about the club or the Yakuza’s involvement is minimal. The organization reportedly has a strong, controlling influence in the country and has for many years. Media outlets are discouraged from providing too much exposure to the organization. Police even request that reporters call the organization by another name in order to avoid too much exposure.
The unregulated gambling market continues to be an issue in Japan. Police continue to raid operations when they are able to track down organizations such as this one. The country will allow legalized gambling eventually, but the licensing process has taken quite some time and is no where close to being finalized.