The Grand Casino in Basle, Switzerland, was robbed over the weekend by a group of 10 masked raiders armed with pistols and machine guns. Prosecutors say it was a professional operation, carried out with “brutal” efficiency. The exact amount of cash that the bandits escaped with is not known, but it is said to be in the neighborhood of several hundred thousand euros.
The raid started around 2am, when one man smashing in the front door with a sledgehammer. The group ran inside, firing their weapons and yelling at the casino’s 600 patrons to get down on the floor. They then tried to use their guns to break into the casino’s vault, but were not successful. Instead, they emptied all the cash drawers they could find before making their escape.
After climbing into what were described as Audis with French plates, the bandits fled across the border, following Flughafenstrasse (Airport Road) into France. Now, officials in both France and Switzerland are cooperating in the manhunt to track the men down.
“The hunt for the perpetrators has so far been unsuccessful,” say prosecutors.
Grand Casino is a massive gambling center, offering more than 357 slot machines, 15 gambling tables, four bars and two restaurants. Casino-style gambling in Switzerland has only been legal since 1993, and unlimited-stakes gambling has only been around in 2000.
Online gambling in Switzerland is currently prohibited. This is surprising, considering a recent which suggested that as much as one fifth of the country’s population can be classified as “frequent gamblers”. Many players still gamble on the internet by playing at sites hosted in other countries – a practice which is bound to continue until changes are made to Swiss gambling laws that would allow for locally-hosted internet casinos which, incidentally, are less prone to being robbed than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.