Tokyo Police Continue to Raid Illegal Baccarat Gambling Joints

Posted on: October 19, 2020, 05:48h. 

Last updated on: October 19, 2020, 10:07h.

Late last week, Tokyo police searched an alleged illegal casino and arrested four employees and two baccarat players.

Japan Illegal Casinos
Crowds visit Tokyo’s Kabukicho entertainment district. Alleged illegal casinos in the area were recently raided by local police. (Image: Tokyo Cheapo)

Names of the suspects were not immediately known. Nor were charges.

Revenue at the alleged casino was about US$66,500 per month, Inside Asian Gaming reported. The gaming spot began operating in January.

The casino was open during the coronavirus pandemic, police said. Staff provided players hand sanitizer and face masks. But players were told by employees that COVID-19 “is not spread by underground gambling,” the report adds.

The gaming site was located in the city’s Kabukicho district. The area is known for entertainment, brothels, and adult-targeted businesses.

Last week’s raid is one of several gambling-related arrests in Tokyo since January. They come as Japan is scheduled to hold the 2021 Olympics in the city.

Prior Tokyo Gambling Arrests

In September, Tokyo police additionally raided an alleged casino, which was also in the city’s Kabukicho entertainment area. Three players were charged.

The alleged gambling operation’s manager, Toru Inomata, 45, was charged for allegedly letting players place baccarat and slot bets on computers linked to a foreign site, the Tokyo Reporter, an English-language news site, reported.

Last month, Japanese police also arrested Chizuka Yamamoto, who is alleged to be a top Yakuza boss accused of running a high-stakes baccarat den in Tokyo. Three suspected associates were also charged. Yamamoto was described as a reputed “executive” of the Takumi-gumi organized crime group, a subgroup of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest Yakuza organization.

The operation was run in the Roppongi area of the city from January 2019 until July, when police closed it down. The neighborhood is known for its nightlife.

For that year and a half, the illegal casino earned about $4.5 million in total revenue based on police statements.

In July, nine people were detained by police after the raid.  Police said they seized two gaming tables, as well as chips and playing cards.

Last month, 18 people also were arrested following a police raid on an alleged illegal baccarat game in Saitama, Japan.  The city is about 17 miles from Tokyo.

Police discovered the suspected casino operation in June. Later, a 58-year-old man who police claim was affiliated with the Sumiyoshikai crime organization was arrested on suspicion of having received hundreds of thousands of yen in protection money from the gambling operation, Inside Asian Gaming reported.

Resort Licenses Delayed

Japan is planning to approve three commercial gaming licenses for integrated resorts. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Japan’s national government delayed the deadline for submissions until April 28, 2022.

The original submission period was between Jan. 4 and July 30, 2021. Osaka, Yokohama, Wakayama, and Nagasaki are among the locations competing for the licenses.

Tsukasa Akimoto, who oversaw the government initiative to legalize casinos in Japan, allegedly accepted $28,400 in bribes from a Chinese company interested in joining a casino consortium in Japan. As of February, Akimoto maintained his innocence.

In August, two Japanese former advisers to, a Chinese online gaming company, pleaded guilty to bribing Akimoto, who, as a member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet Office, was instrumental in shaping policy for the liberalization of the country’s casino market, the Mainichi Shimbun reported. They allegedly paid $72,000 to Akimoto as they worked on getting a casino in Hokkaido province.