Toronto police have raided gambling dens and illegal casinos in several areas of the city resulting in the arrests of more than 30 people and seizure of enough gambling equipment and other evidence to fill two rooms. More than 30 locations were raided in the most recent crackdown. Nine illegal gaming houses and 3 illegal casinos were shut down. Some of the locations investigated were mobile casinos, which move their operations regularly to avoid enforcement actions and some were, “just what they sound like. It looks like, acts like a casino. They’re large,” said Staff Sergeant Andrew Ecklund in an announcement of the busts. The gaming houses were rooms with 2 or 3 tables that can hold up to 20 people.
Police fear that an increase in violence surrounding the illegal operations threatens public safety. “We’ve had a double shooting at a location at Passmore and Kennedy. We’ve had a robbery at 141 Montezuma. We’ve had people that have been assaulted, beaten and robbed out front of these locations,” Ecklund said. He added that people gambling in the venues put themselves in danger as well. “They are getting robbed. There is a criminal element going to these locations, extorting people running these and robbing people inside, so it’s very dangerous for anybody who’s attending any of these locations.”
Items seized in the raids include baccarat and mahjong tables, gambling machines, and various illegal drugs including heroin.