Watching the police bust illegal gambling dens and wagering houses on TV doesn’t raise too many eyebrows as these places are usually linked with crime, violence, and drugs. But the location of a few underground casinos is so bizarre that we couldn’t help but praise the masterminds behind the setup.
Save for a few European countries, people often resort to illegal gambling as regulations come in the way. However, not every country in Europe bans gambling online. For instance, online casinos in Latvija are more popular than ever, just like in Scandinavian countries and central European regions.
Inside a Tailors in a Strip Mall, San Diego, USA
A strip mall in San Diego is the first on our list of weird casinos. The place might have looked inconspicuous right next to a coffee shop, but KT Alterations and Gifts was far from your average tailor shop.
The police raided the establishment in October 2020, and the officers found evidence of a gambling parlor being illegally run within the premises. The owners were caught with drugs and over $1,700 hidden in drywall.
A Lavish Mansion and Spa, Markham, Canada
The Canadian police were in the limelight recently after raiding a massive mansion spread over 20,000 sq. ft. on a two-acre property in Markham, York. The owners were running an off-the-books gambling hub while openly flaunting all COVID-19 safety precautions as legal casinos remained shut during the nationwide lockdown.
The lavish home resembled a bed and breakfast to the naked eye, but the basement was a hive of illicit activity. The owners were running a full-fledged gambling operation, complete with slot machines, table games, and a spa. Apart from charging people, the police recovered CA$10 million in cash, assets, alcohol, and firearms. Several illegal items like shark fins and a rifle were found on the premises.
Shopping Center with an Unnamed Elevator, Kyiv, Ukraine
The local police busted an illegal but opulent gambling operation in the heart of Ukraine’s capital a few years ago. The mall-based casino was reserved for VIPs only and according to the police, had a secret elevator that transported the guests to the fourth floor.
The elevator only worked with a magnetic key and was guarded by a system of locks. During the raid, the police recovered weapons and ammunition apart from gaming machines and cash.
‘Spiels’ Behind Backstreet Businesses, London, UK
While London has its fair share of opulent and swanky casinos, the underground gambling scenery is thriving, thanks to the numerous ‘spiels’ or illegal gambling dens that operate in the lesser-known side of the city.
Mini-cab offices, backstreets, and small cafes are the perfect cover for the illegal gambling hubs during the day. These operations are an integral part of London’s heritage and have been around since the 1920s.
A Secret Wall Inside a Chinese Shop, Alicante, Spain
A gourmet Chinese food store in Alicante, Spain was recently busted by the cops for illegally hosting poker games inside the wine and cheese cellar. A display shelf on a wall doubled up as the door to the shady backroom.
The police not only found evidence of a gambling hub but also found an illegal drug-running operation. The list of recovered items included cocaine and cash. The property broke a number of laws as private poker games are illegal in Spain.