Japanese Police Arrest 70-Year-Old Man for Allegedly Operating Illegal Casino

  • Funds from the casino operation were allegedly going to a criminal organization
  • Chizuka Yamamoto is said to be a prominent member of a local crime group
  • Police estimate the casino collected ¥480m ($4.55m) in revenue from January 2019 to July 2020
  • Nine people were arrested at the time of the raid and two baccarat tables were seized
Man with hands cuffed behind his back
Japanese police have arrested three men, including a 70-year-old associated with the yakuza, for allegedly operating an illegal casino. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Crime figure

Japanese police arrested three people for their involvement in an illegal casino that was busted in July, including a 70-year-old crime figure. The authorities believe that funds from the operation in the Roppongi entertainment district were going to a criminal organization.

Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested Chizuka Yamamoto, a 70-year-old upper-level Takumi-gumi member, along with two others for allegedly offering baccarat gambling at this illegal casino.

an “executive” of a criminal gang affiliated with the Yamaguchi-gumi yakuza group

Yamamoto is said to be an “executive” of a criminal gang affiliated with the Yamaguchi-gumi yakuza group and is believed to be the main operator of the gambling venue. 

The operation was located in a multi-tenant building; the Metropolitan Police Department’s Organizational Crime Countermeasures Division 4 unit made the three arrests. Yamamoto denies the allegations, telling police “I didn’t do it.”

Significant operation

The casino had a members-only policy and had been operating in the midst of the state of emergency that was in place in Japan because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

estimating total revenue of about ¥480m ($4.55m)

This illegal casino reportedly operated from January 2019 until July 2020, with police estimating total revenue of about ¥480m ($4.55m).

Police raided the property in July, seizing two baccarat tables and arresting nine other people. It was in the subsequent investigation that the involvement of the three other suspects came to light.

Gambling-related issues

Japan has been dealing with a number of gambling-related issues, largely revolving around a bribery scandal concerning the issuance of upcoming casino licenses in the country. 

Last week, a Tokyo District Court sentenced former travel agency Kamori Kanko Co. chairman Kimihi Kamori to ten months in prison for bribery in a case relating to a scandal involving Chinese gambling operator 500.com and former Japan House of Representatives member Tsukasa Akimoto. 

faces accusations of accepting about ¥7.6m ($72,034) in bribes

Akimoto was overseeing the plan to introduce integrated resort casinos in Japan. He faces accusations of accepting about ¥7.6m ($72,034) in bribes from 500.com representatives. The two men who allegedly gave the payments to Akimoto have already admitted to doing so.

There have also been issues with pachinko parlors staying open for business despite being instructed to close during the height of the pandemic.