The Metropolitan Police Department arrested six men in their 40s and 50s this week on suspicion of running books in an apartment of a tower block in Tokyos Roppongi. Two customers, male and female, were also arrested on gambling charges.
It has since been learned that there is currently a policy in place to investigate and crack down on gang-related activities in Japans capital city as part of a clean up of the downtown area for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
The arrests were made on the night of 14 June and it is alleged that the accused allowed multiple customers to gamble on baccarat in an apartment of a luxury condominium. The police seized baccarat and poker tables from the location during the raid.
The two-bedroom apartment was approximately 80 square meters in size and according to a real estate agent has a market value of JPY200 million (US$1.8 million). There was no advertising and it is believed those running the operation had evaded police by operating from a tower block with high security, soliciting customers through word of mouth.
Most illegal gambling operations discovered in Tokyo have been in multi-tenant buildings and it is rare for one to have been uncovered in a condominium. The suspected store manager claims the venue is a Casino School.
According to a source who also runs an illegal casino in the Tokyo Metropolitan area, these locations are normally opened in a unit of a multi-tenant building but move every few months.
Most customers are middle-aged or older business owners but in recent years less affluent young people have become more common. According to one person involved in such activities, there have been an increasing number of visitors who miss the overseas casino experience as they have not been able to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those involved say that such operations can be profitable, with some venues achieving monthly sales of JPY100 million (US$909,000).