Tokyo Metropolitan police raided a suspected gambling den in Uneo district on Monday, and arrested a man and a woman over providing an illegal online casino in Japan. 44 year old Takashi Higa, and Mariko Koito, 32, were taken into custody after a tip off, while two customers at the illegal casino were also arrested.
Japanese gambling laws currently prohibit online gambling, although there is a chance that this will change as the government attempt to make full use of the 2020 Olympic games. Indeed, it is likely that the country will get at least one massive casino resort in Tokyo prior to the games’ arrival.
The raided casino, Ocean, was providing online gambling from computers connected to overseas servers. They sold points – priced at 100 yen a pop – to customers, who could later exchange them for cash. The pair who ran the operation have admitted to the charges, with Higa explaining: “Compared to normal work, this is a good way to earn an income.”
Meanwhile, Koito was said to have taken part in order to collect the finance to undergo a sex change operation. The casino collected 36 million yen in revenue since March this year.
Mobile casinos have taken off across the world, but Japan has yet to change their legal system to take advantage. As such, many Japanese gamblers turn to illegal operations to fulfill their gambling habits. This is just the latest gambling bust in the capital, and follows fears that any casinos built after the law change could fall into the hands of organized crime.
Indeed, one of the main considerations when evaluating who would be awarded a gambling license will be whether the Yakuza could become involved. After the raid on Ocean, many reporters and investigators believe that the illegal casino may have been attached to illegal crime.