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Ontario Police Swoop on High Rollers’ Poker Game

19/6/2009
Thirteen high-rolling poker players were stung in the small hours of this morning as an illegal private game was raided by the Ontario Provincial Police’s organised crime unit.

Though little is currently known about the bust, which took place on Nelson Street at 1.30am this morning, the raid is thought to have been the culmination of a four-month investigation by the police into illegal gambling.

According to reports, cash and gaming equipment were seized in the raid and all thirteen players involved were taken into custody. Among them, Abdul Muti-Butrus was charged with keeping a common gaming house – a crime that currently carries a maximum sentence of two years.

The other twelve people involved in the game, meanwhile, were all charged with being found in a common gaming house and will now face a fine of up to $2,000, though police have not released any names.

Speaking under the condition of anonymity – and without mentioning any of the specifics of the case – an undercover detective told reporters: “A lot of our tips come from upset family members. They are absolutely crying, begging us to do something. I've known businesspeople lose their entire businesses. The players just dig a hole for themselves deeper and deeper.”

Playing poker in private is not considered a crime in Canada, but when an admission fee, service charge or rake is taken by the operator, the game is considered an illegal gambling operation. Despite this fact, many judges do not believe that the crime is worth any significant sentence and that the law needs to make provisions to allow regulated poker games to take place.
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