Casinos And Crime
Casinos are entertainment hubs. Today, they are growing in popularity and bringing in huge revenues. On the down side, these have a history of increasing the crime rate. Casinos often witness violent and white collar crimes and may also be used as operating bases by organized crime syndicates. Every now and then, casinos have been in the crosshairs of law enforcement agencies worldwide. Some countries even have trained special squads for casinos. Casinos are well regulated in the US, and before granting them a license, a detailed scrutiny of the owners is done for possible links with organized crime. Let us have a look at some recent developments related to this aspect.
Singapore has recently opened its first casino this year and has announced the formation of Casino Crime Investigation Branch under the CID. The special team had been learning the tricks of the trade and the various ways in which scams can happen in casinos. They have also visited foreign countries including Las Vegas and Macau and have studied the jurisdiction and the best practices followed by the agencies there to maintain fair play in casinos. The police commissioner believes that this will enable the enforcement agencies to detect and deal effectively with crime in casinos.
New Zealand’s metropolitan city Auckland also reported busting a drug racket whose leader was using the SkyCity casino as his office. The police arrested Tac Kin Woong after surveillance for months under the Operation Ice Age. The casino premises were being used for the operations. This incident highlights the fact that casinos and drugs have not parted ways.
That gambling industry in the US can be cheated for millions of dollars was proved when the leader of the crime enterprise, the Tran Organization, Phuong Quoc Truong, cheated casinos of Tacoma including the Emerald Queen Casino of $7 million. He was convicted and sentenced to 6-year jail term. The modus operandi of the organization was to bribe the dealers to win at blackjack and mini-baccarat.
Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties are going to shortly elect their chief law enforcement officers. And, all of the running candidates are of the opinion that if a casino is allowed to be built in western Massachusetts, there will be a spurt in crime. They have publicly voiced their concern and called for greater funding and strengthening of enforcement agencies.
In Europe, two major casino related crime incidents were reported within a span of 30 days. The first was reported from Basel in Switzerland where masked and armed men robbed a casino. They reportedly took away hundreds of thousands of dollars. The next incident followed close on the heels of the first one, in France. A French casino was robbed of $38000 by masked armed men. This casino is close to the Interpol headquarters but even that did not deter the robbers.
The greed for money can drive people to commit crimes and casinos provide the necessary settings for the same. Isolated incidents keep happening but it is wrong to think that they are always related.