Police sting illegal gambling group in Japan

by Mia Chapman Last Updated
China, Japan and South Korea key to Asian gaming recovery:  Goldman Sachs

Japanese police in Saitama Prefecture have arrested 18 people in association with an illegal gambling operation.

Gambling Insider reports Tomohiro Hanaya, the 50-year-old manager of the gaming facility, has been arrested in addition to his 12 employees, under suspicion of hosting baccarat games with customers playing for money.

Five customers have also been arrested in the raid for betting with cash.

Police searched the property for around six hours and confiscated four baccarat tables, a number of player card decks and $114,285 in cash.

One customer reportedly told police they had intended to make money after losing their job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The illegal casino was active 24/7 for at least a year and took in around 10 customers on a typical day during the pandemic.

During the pandemic, Japanese police have conducted raised of a number of illegal gambling operations across the country.

Last month, Aichi Prefectural police arrested 23 workers and customers at a casino in Nagoya on suspicion of illegal gambling.

Melco offices raided in Tokyo

The Brisbane Times reported in January that Melco’s offices in Tokyo were raided between January 17 and 20.

The raids came just days after Tokyo prosecutors arrested Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto on suspicion of accepting bribes from Chinese gambling group, 500.com.

Mr Akimoto, who is in detention, has denied any wrongdoing.

Melco and 500.com are both among the gambling groups bidding for the rights to build three integrated casino resorts in Japan.

Melco established a Japanese local entity and offices in Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama and submitted IR concepts to multiple local municipalities as part of its application process.

Mr Akimoto had played a central role in crafting government policy for the casino resorts.

Class action against 500.com filed

A class action lawsuit has been filed in the United States over the 500.com Japanese bribery scandal.

Calvin Ayre reported in January the China-based gambling company has started to fall apart, with its chairman and CEO dumped in the wake of the scandal and it is continuing to see the gambling world turn its back to the firm.

It is now going to have to answer to a class action lawsuit, where it is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The law firm Block and Leviton LLP has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in New Jersey, asserting that 500.com committed securities fraud as a direct result of the bribery scandal.

The firm alleges that the company “concealed from investors that its executives were bribing Japanese lawmakers in order to secure development rights for a casino resort in Japan.”

It added that the public acknowledgement by the company of an internal investigation into the reported activity is enough to support the lawsuit’s claims.

Block & Leviton indicates that anyone who purchased or acquired stock in 500.com from April 27, 2018 to December 31, 2019 – the date that 500.com announced its own investigation – is eligible to participate in the lawsuit.

Attorney Mark Delaney states, “The allegations of corruption are very serious and our investigation will focus on whether illegal activity occurred which resulted in investor losses.”

If the law firm’s track record holds up, those who join the lawsuit could be looking at some bonus cash when the case wraps up.

The company asserts in its press release that it was ranked fourth among securities litigation firms by ISS for recoveries in 2017.

The firm represents many of the nation’s largest institutional investors and numerous individual investors in securities litigation throughout the country.

Indeed, its lawyers have recovered billions of dollars for its clients.

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