10 arrested as police raid two gambling dens

ST VIDEO: TAN TAM MEI
A man in hand-cuffs seen at an illegal gambling den in Petain Road.
A man in hand-cuffs seen at an illegal gambling den in Petain Road.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Nine people, including the 58-year-old den operator, were arrested for for illegal gaming offences at Petain Road.
Nine people, including the 58-year-old den operator, were arrested for for illegal gaming offences at Petain Road.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Closed circuit television cameras are usually installed at the entrances so operators can keep a look out.
Closed circuit television cameras are usually installed at the entrances so operators can keep a look out.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
The police operation saw seven men and three woman - aged 44 to 64 - arrested for offences under the Common Gambling House Act.
The police operation saw seven men and three woman - aged 44 to 64 - arrested for offences under the Common Gambling House Act.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - The words "You win!" flash on the screen and the punter celebrated. But seconds later police officers burst through the door and the fun and games were over for customers at an illegal gambling den in Petain Road.

Computer terminals were seized and cash was confiscated.

A police operation that started around midnight on Friday (March 23) saw seven men and three woman - aged 44 to 64- arrested for offences under the Common Gambling House Act.

The raid covered two gambling dens based in shophouses along Petain Road and Jalan Besar Road.

A total of $5,469 and 27 computers were seized and investigations are ongoing.

Gambling dens today do not always fit the stereotypical image of a crowded room with games like mahjong, baccarat and big-small.

Instead they feature rows of computer terminals and look like cyber cafes.

At some dens like the one along Petain Road, card and table games are not allowed and a sign tells patrons: "Table and card games, please don't gamble".

Instead, punters try their luck at online jackpot games, eager to make a quick buck. They usually find out about such places through word of mouth.

Closed circuit television cameras are usually installed at the entrances so operators can keep a look out.


Closed circuit television cameras seen at an illegal gambling den in Petain Road. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Typically, patrons exchange cash for online credits and are allowed to choose from a selection of jackpot games with themes like "Lucky Panda" and "Sherlock Mystery".

The Straits Times understands that the lure of such dens is that punters are given more credits there than they would be if they played at home - giving them more chance to win extra credits which they can exchange for cash.

At Petain Road, nine people including the 58-year-old den operator were arrested for illegal gaming offences.


Nine people were arrested for for illegal gaming offences at Petain Road. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

It is believed the place had been under surveillance for weeks before the raid, following a combination of intelligence and complaints from neighbours.

 

The operator at Jalan Besar was just about to close shop for the day when police closed in at around 1am.

No punters were caught but the 64-year-old operator was arrested.

Those convicted of managing a place being used as a common gaming house can be fined up to $50,000 and jailed up to three years. Punters can be sent to prison for six months and fined up to $5,000.