The San Jose police department has raided and ceased the operations of an illicit gambling ring consisting of multiple underground casinos across the Californian city.
7 locations in San Jose and Los Banos were served warrants from Detectives in SJPD’s Burglary Prevention Unit. These were highly illicit activities for multiple reasons according to the detectives and multiple persons were apprehended in connection to the wide scale operation.
43-year-old San Jose resident, Chuong Ho, was identified as the primary suspect thought to be the mastermind behind the operation. Also discovered to be a hub for other illicit activities ancillary to the casino functions.
These included narcotic distribution and consumption, and the trading of illegally obtained goods. As a result of these activities, authorities recovered over $285,000 in cash, dozens of non-licensed, illicit gambling machines, 11 firearms, more than 8 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and cocaine, 500 MDMA pills and more than 2,000 pieces of stolen mail.
Ho and the rest of the arrested associates were booked into Santa Clara County Jail for a variety of diverse felony and criminal charges.
There is without question a sizable casino industry in California. The Golden State has the second most casinos in all of the US, only falling short of Nevada with its famed gambling paradise, Las Vegas. Along with their sizable sports betting sector, the industry generates close to $20 billion annually and supports over 124,000 jobs.
85 casinos line the state’s gambling infrastructure, seemingly inconsequential in size, they serve their communities effectively and fit their demographics to a tee. Despite this however, the regulatory legislation related to the industry is peculiar to say the least.
There are exactly 0 commercial casinos in California, only tribal ones. Owned and operated by Native American reservations. This is possible due to the significant concessions they are afforded through compacts which appear in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), 1988.
These compacts are agreements between indigenous peoples and the US government acknowledging the sovereignty of these tribes that allows comprehensively regulated and legal gambling operations on their land. As a result this right to provide these services is almost exclusive to tribes in California.
This is a slightly more extreme version of a model that has been used to various extents across the United States. However, the true extent of the gambling industry should be realised or at least acknowledged through regulation.
The legalisation of sports betting is a hopeful action on the horizon but this perhaps is not even close to enough. The fact such a massive operation was built and run under the noses of the government means there is a significant blind spot that makes allowances. This is probably due to the sheer and vast nature of the demand for a more diverse offering in the gambling sector.
The largest downside of having ineffectual regulation to cope with illicit gambling is the unavoidable value it can generate which will spawn other far more unsavoury illicit activities involving firearms and narcotic abuse.
Addressing such a lucrative issue could have phenomenal impact on the ability to keep Californian’s safe from organisations that contribute to criminal activities.
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