POLICE have uncovered what appears to be one of the first illegal casinos seen in decades has been uncovered by police in Sydney’s western suburbs.
Armed with a search warrant police raided the illegal gaming house premises last Friday above a legitimate fruit and vege supermarket at Endesor Park. There is no suggestion of any link between the supermarket and the premises above it.
Inside police found two seperate gaming areas with professional tables set up for playing poker, casino style chips, a pool table and number of large flat screen TV’s.
When police attended the premises in Smithfield Rd at about 10.30pm staff were getting ready for clients to arrive.
Food and alcohol was also on hand for the patrons.
«It was quite an elaborate set up,» said Fairfield Local Area Commander Detective Superintend Peter Lennon.
«We had received information from the public and after some investigation a search warrant was obtained and police went to the premises.»
Detective Lennon said he could no recall of a raid on a «illegal gaming» house in recent times.
«Years ago they were common place, but I haven’t heard of them for years.»
He said no charges were laid because no one was caught in the act of gambling when police attended.
«Investigations are continuing and we will also be referring the matter to council about what type of premises they have approval to operate.»
Officers seized paperwork and a CCTV hard drive recorder. A 49-year-old man was spoken to at the time and is likely to be re interviewed by police.
Superintenedant Lennon said the operaters were members of the middle eastern community.
At the location raided by police is a door with a «Members Only» sign which opens to a staircase and rooms above the large fruit shop.
The site is on a major sized block with a large parking area and is self contained. An Assyrian social club is next to the supermarket. There is suggestion of any link between the premises and the social club.
Neighbors across from the club said they knew nothing of the casino or its operation.
For many years illegal casinos and card rooms flourished through out Sydney.
«In the 80’s and even in the 90’s illegal gambling operations were everywhere,» said a retired NSW detective.
«A lot of the Italians, Greeks, Yugoslavs and other Europeans had illegal card venues throughout the inner city particulalry Marrickville.
«The Chinese had Mah-jong and Manilla operating above restaurants in Chinatown.
«The fancier black-jack and roulette casinos were run by the gangsters in the Cross.»
Two up was played at Straithfield, Paddington and in Abercrombie street Redfern.»
«In those days most pubs had their own SP bookie.»
The advent of Sydney’s legal casino catered for the big punters and the growth of TAB’s through out the city’s hotels killed off the SP bookie.