It is legal to gamble in Canada, provided that you play in a legit casino, online or land-based. For example, you can access online slots no download on various gambling sites duly recognized by the government.
Canada is one of those countries that have tight regulations on gambling. Only recently the country has become lenient with granting licenses to both land-based and online casinos. Because of the tight regulations, illegal and underground casinos are on the rise in the country, and this is evidenced by several busts and arrests that have happened recently.
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COVID-19 Casino Busted
Casinos that legally operate shut down their institutions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This prevents people from gathering in large masses, and it is going to curb the spread. Despite this, there are gambling dens that still operate against the law—gambling dens that have been busted just recently.
Canadian police caught dozens of people for operating these dens. They have also seized millions in casino assets after discovering that one mansion north of Toronto was a gambling haven that was operating illegally. It was the York region police force that caught the illegal operators. They announced last Wednesday that it took them months to investigate and prove the illegal gambling activities. They filed 74 charges and made a total of 24 arrests. Overall, they seized $10 million in assets. They also seized firearms and alcohol along with the cash.
According to Brian Bigras, the operation was clearly an organized crime. They thought that they were above the law. Furthermore, he said that these operators were affluent individuals who exploited their influence and positions.
The police raided a 20,000 square-foot mansion in Markham. This mansion is located on two acres of land in an affluent community. The second floor of the mansion was used as a bed and breakfast hotel, while the basement was used as an underground casino. There was also a spa in the basement.
But this operation did not last. There were 92 tactical police officers that conducted the raid. They found various gambling tables such as mahjong. There were also slot machines. The under casino was also equipped with a cash bar, a kitchen. The kitchen was found to serve illegal food like shark fin dishes.
The players were also not following government protocol on COVID-19. There was no social distancing, and they were not wearing masks.
“Booze Can” Arrest
Meanwhile, another raid was successful in Voyageur Way in Richmond. The Royal Mounted Police discovered a 2-story industrial establishment that holds a large amount of unlicensed liquor. This bust also uncovered a gambling den as they also found gambling tables.
During the raid, there were about 20 people playing, all of whom ranged between 19 and 25 years of age. It was a clubhouse, which the police dubbed as “Booze Can.” The room was equipped with mood lights, karaoke machines, and gambling tables. There were also rooms that had various sizes to accommodate the patrons.
The police set-up cameras that monitor the entrance, and they conducted the raid at the best time possible. The raid was part of a series of raids that the police were doing. There is an ongoing effort to curb gangs in several neighborhoods.
According to Captain Dennis Wang, this booze can was more sophisticated and elaborate than the first one they discovered a month prior to this bust. This arrest and raid raised the alarm as there could be more, and that these facilities are putting peoples’ health at risk.
Furthermore, he added that it is not just COVID that people have to be worried about. Gambling and illegal activities attract various criminal elements. There is also the issue of a fire hazard, overcrowding, and road safety concerns. He also said that some drivers might leave the establishment impaired due to alcohol intoxication.
So far, the police have made 19 such raids in various locations in just a matter of a week. The public, however, has not been so supportive of this. Many people said that the police should focus their attention on more important things like criminality. The police, however, believes that gambling and illegal liquor sale is a magnet for greater crimes—that it is going to get out of hand.
Why Is Illegal Gambling on the Rise?
Canadians do not have to pay taxes from their winnings in lottery and casino exploits. However, this rule only applies if they won in casinos that operate locally—on Canadian soil. For online casino winnings, they have to pay taxes.
Now, many players do not like this. So, what they do is play in underground gambling dens. These online casinos are not licensed to operate on Canadian soil and are certainly under the radar of police. This is the reason why illegal gambling establishments are rising in Canada.
These operators know how to circumvent government tracking of online gambling activities. As such, the players need not worry about their identities being exposed. The casinos also do not impose minimum bets, and this makes the gambling experience a lot better.
These underground casinos also accept other items if the player runs out of supply. The player can bet cars, drugs, and many other things that legal casinos would never accept. Add to that the fact that playing in seedy casinos makes it all more exciting, and then you would have a demand for illegal gambling dens.