A Chinese poker den reportedly taking thousands of dollars in illegal bets has been exposed by an undercover reporter.
According to local newspaper The Beijing News, a reporter was able to infiltrate an unlicensed high stakes casino in a luxury apartment building in Beijing.
The newspaper alleges that the gambling den carries out three levels of security before giving players access to its games on the 23rd floor of a luxury apartment block.
However, despite the rigorous security, the reporter and a disgruntled former customer managed to gain access to the gaming floor and witness firsthand the betting activity inside.
Aside from the fact the poker room and casino operates without a license (mainly due to the fact gambling is illegal on mainland China), the report alleges that a number of shady business practices take place onsite.
One accusation leveled at the venue is that members of staff pose as players in a bid to bump up the betting and increase the amount of rake the casino takes. Also on the list of suspected crimes is a culture of illegal loans.
With players reportedly wagered hundreds of thousands of Yuan (100,000 Yuan = $15,200) as well as real estate contracts in a single session, many players often found themselves short of money. It is at this point the reporter claims that loan sharks step in and offer players cash in exchange for property contracts.
Details of the illegal poker den were given to the reporter by a player who says he lost more than $45,000 in two games of poker.
With the blind betting set as a “house rule” and players only able to sit down in two sessions during the day, there is little chance for players to win their money back when they find themselves in a hole which means the loan sharks have a strong hold over the action.
As well as losing his bankroll, the player alleges that he was threatened with eviction by employees of the poker room if he didn’t pay off his loan debt within three days.
However, despite the fact the venue was making thousands of dollars in profit each month, local police officers have been unable to collect any hard evidence to support any possible arrests.
Because the illegal poker den employs a number of security checks, investigators are often denied access before the make it to the gaming floor.
Whether or not The Beijing News’ report will lead to any arrests is unclear, but with gambling a hot topic in China it’s likely the source will be interrogated further in a bid to uncover any useful evidence.