NYPD Cites Gamblers in Chinatown Park, Illegal Activity Cleaned Up

Posted on: October 26, 2022, 06:08h. 

Last updated on: October 26, 2022, 06:45h.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) sent in the cops a few days ago after press reports shined the light on illegal gambling taking place at a Chinatown Park.

A New York City officer inspects gambling taking place in a Chinatown park
A New York City officer inspects gaming taking place in a Chinatown park, pictured above. Officers and parks authorities broke up illicit activity in Columbus Park. (Image: New York Post)

Hundreds of gamblers were wagering daily at Manhattan’s Columbus Park in recent weeks. That’s until officers and parks department workers dismantled the illicit operations over the weekend. On Monday, officers returned to the park for inspection and outreach to local residents.

Over the weekend, multiple tents erected by gamblers in the park were taken down. Some later were tossed into the trash.

By Tuesday, a New York Post reporter visiting the park saw no gambling taking place there

Summonses, Citations

NYPD officers issued seven summonses after cops broke up the illegal gambling. Parks department employees issued six citations. Gambling involving cash is illegal in city parks, the Post said.

It did not appear that any dealers or players were arrested on a more serious charge, promoting gambling. That could have led to a four-year prison sentence, as well as $5,000 in fines, the Post reported.

In recent weeks, the players at the park included the middle-aged and elderly. Many appear to have been speaking in Chinese dialects.

The Post initially revealed that illegal gaming was taking place at the public park. The newspaper reported on Tuesday about the citations and enforcement activity over the weekend.

Earlier this month, there were numerous instances of gambling in Columbus Park. Officers and park employees initially ignored the gambling, such as Gai-Gow poker and Chinese blackjack, the report said.

The park is near federal and state courthouses. Various law enforcement agencies have offices nearby, too.

Columbus Park sign
Columbus Park sign, pictured above. It is located in New York City’s Chinatown.

Meghan Lalor, director of media relations at New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation, told the Post last week they were “aware” of the gambling and were working with the NYPD “to enforce the no-gambling rule at Columbus Park.”

In recent weeks, the pot in some games had totaled thousands of dollars, the report said. During one recent week, reporters spotted 10 tents in the park.

Numerous gamblers had been seated at cement and wooden tables. They were taking part in what the Post described as “Las Vegas-style action and “casino-level gambling” that rivals Atlantic City.

Many neighborhood residents had been concerned about prior gambling in the park. Witnesses complained about illegal Columbus Park gambling multiple times to the NYPD.

For those players who want to gamble legally if approved, locations such as New York City’s Times Square have been mentioned as possible sites for licensed casinos in New York City. It is about 3.5 miles from Chinatown to Times Square. It is a relatively quick subway ride, too.

Distances to Legal Casinos

One gambler complained to the Post traveling to current gambling meccas, such as Atlantic City, is too far to travel from Chinatown. It is about 127 miles.

The distance from Columbus Park to Connecticut’s Foxwoods Resort Casino is even longer, some 142 miles.