A total of 27 people will be charged by police after an illegal casino was raided at a warehouse in the Australian city of Melbourne.
According to Melbourne’s The Age newspaper, police raided the premises late on Friday night and found gaming tables and chips, business records of the illegal establishment, as well as drugs, alcohol and large sums of cash. A 36-year-old man has already been arrested while a further 26 will be charged via summons on various charges revolving around being associated with an illegal gaming establishment.
The Australian Broadcasting Commission quoted Inspector Michael Beattie as saying the illegal casino that was raided appeared to have been a substantial operation. “Behind the rather drab exterior of this factory there is quite an elaborate entertainment area, which included gaming tables, a bar, a band playing and sexually explicit entertainment,” he said.
“We will allege that organising attendance at this venue is done through a social media site and we will be alleging that large amounts of money are going through this operation.”
It is currently unclear if poker was one of the games played in the illegal casino. Should it be found that it was indeed one of the games played, it may decrease the legitimacy of the game in the premier Australian city for the game of poker.
Melbourne has played host to a number of major regional, domestic and global poker events, largely owing to it being the location of Crown Casino, which plays host to most of those events. The Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT) has one of its legs in the city, as does the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT), with Melbourne being the only Australian city in that series.
One of the largest Australian poker events, the Aussie Millions, also takes place in Melbourne, as does the Melbourne Poker Championship. The most recent Main Event of the Championship was won by the best performing woman at this year’s WSOP Main Event, Jackie Glazier, a sign of the MPC’s high calibre.
Perhaps most notably in the world of poker, Melbourne also hosted the first ever WSOP Asia Pacific event earlier in the year. That event attracted a number of poker pros, including Jim Collopy, Phil Ivey, Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu.
While some sections of the community may point to the illegal casino raid as why poker and gaming should be clamped down on, it is likely that it won’t have any effect on the game. The exposure and popularity of poker in Australia in recent years has led to most people viewing the game as a genuine hobby.
That makes it highly unlikely that any greater gaming controls will occur as a direct result of the aforementioned incident.