Police and gaming authorities have worked together on multiple raids over the past year.

Gaming authorities raid an illegal Wangara high-stakes poker venue

Cash and poker equipment were seized in the raid in April.
June 20, 2024

GAMING authorities and the WA Police Force have carried out a raid on a suspected illegal gaming house, shutting down a high-stakes poker event at an industrial premises in Wangara.

On April 18 authorised officers from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) executed a search warrant under the authority of the Gaming and Wagering Commission of WA (GWC), as part of the state government’s battle against illegal gambling activity in the community. The raid also involved WA Police who provided support.

The GWC has since revoked the ‘gaming operator certificate’ of the event organiser as well as the two professional card dealers who were allegedly taking part.

This certificate allowed them to act as authorised card and dice dealers, cashiers, and supervisors at permitted gaming functions.

Also, the organiser’s company has had its ‘gaming equipment suppliers certificate’ revoked which allowed for gaming equipment and dealer services to be supplied for these functions. Eight players who attended the event have also been issued with infringement notices.

A professional-grade poker table, casino-style gaming chips and other instruments of gaming were seized in the raid, along with $2800 in cash.

However, chips worth $13,000 were allegedly being wagered on the night. Police and Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia and WA’s new GWC Chair Gary Dreibergs are warning industry participants to comply with the strict conditions of approved permits and certificates, and not to use them to conduct underground unlawful gaming operations for personal gain.

Gaming function permits are made available to not-for-profit community groups, charities, sporting clubs and other bodies seeking to run gaming-style fundraising activities, and a financial return statement must be lodged with the DLGSC following the function.

This latest bust was the third carried out in the past 12 months. In April 2023, an unlawful baccarat game was shut down at an alleged common gaming house operating from a Mt Lawley business premises.

Three professional dealers had their casino employee licences cancelled and subsequently lost their jobs. One of the four alleged organisers, a 35-year-old man, was charged with the unlawful possession of money by WA Police and was given a 12-month suspended jail sentence.

The court ordered that $104,000 of his money which was seized in the raid be forfeited to the State.

A second search warrant was executed in December 2023 at a Cloverdale home where 16 people were present at the alleged common gaming house.

A total of more than $190,000 in cash has now been seized in all three raids.

Police and Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia said the government was committed to stamping out unlawful gaming in the community and these multi-agency enforcement actions will ensure compliance with gaming and wagering laws.

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