The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s organized crime unit announced this week that an illegal underground poker game was discovered in an office district of Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward.
The manager, Takayuki Kanno, and three staff members were arrested on suspicion of promoting gambling and 13 customers arrested on suspicion of gambling. The location was the second floor of a multi-tenant building and the room had been operating since September. The number of customers frequenting it had increased since the declaration of a state of emergency in April, and the venue had made a profit of more than JPY 50 million (US$466,000) since opening.
One of the arrested guests said they were “tired of self-isolating and came to gamble.”
In March this year an illegal poker room was also discovered in the Kabukicho district of Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, where five staff and 16 customers were arrested.
In the past, there have been several stores that allowed customers to gamble on video poker or online poker, but recently there have been a number of locations allowing people to play live cash games, marking a change in Tokyo’s underground gambling scene.