Until Japan’s legislators finally get around to legalizing casino gambling, you can expect a lot more stories like this one.
On Wednesday, Kanagawa Prefectural Police announced that they’d busted an illegal baccarat casino in the Kohoku Ward of Japan’s second largest city Yokohama. The casino, known as Tiger, reportedly earned revenue of ¥1b (US $9.6m) in the 10 months that it had been operational.
TV Asahi quoted police saying they’d detained four suspects, including Kiyoharu Kishi, Tiger’s 51-year-old manager. Kishi and two of his fellow detainees have already admitted their guilt while the fourth suspect is reportedly employing the Shaggy-inspired ‘wasn’t me’ defense.
Acting on an anonymous tip, police placed Tiger under surveillance for five days before launching their raid on the venue, which was based in a commercial building in a business district. The venue was equipped with a video camera to monitor the entrance, which apparently proved insufficient in giving Tiger’s operators enough time to dispose of incriminating evidence.
Police seized six baccarat tables and ¥4m in cash, while arresting eight customers who were unlucky enough to be gambling at Tiger at the time of the raid.
Japan’s constitution forbids casino gambling, an inconvenience that the country’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has been attempting to change for several years now without success. Last month, a multi-party pro-casino faction of Japan’s parliament announced they would once again attempt to pass casino legislation in the current Diet session, which concludes in late November. While these legislators have expressed optimism, analysts have estimated their chances of success at “less than 50%.”