Law enforcement authorities in New York state Wednesday night raided and broke up eight illegal high-stakes poker operations in Suffolk County on Long Island and arrested a total of nine people who were running the games.
According to media reports, authorities busted two gambling operations in Deer Park and one each in Wyandanch, West Babylon, Lindenhurst, Holbrook, Farmingdale and Farmingville, seizing a total of 65 poker tables, thousands of poker chips and about $10,000, and arresting nine people and charging them with promotion of gambling. =A0
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota told one New York City newspaper that his office is not just concerned with the illegal card playing in the county, but with the possibility that the card games turn violent.
“One of our chief concerns is the growing number of violent robberies at these locations,” Spota said, noting the fatal shooting last week of Frank Desena, 55, a math professor from New Jersey, during a stickup at a high-stakes poker room in Manhattan.
“Why is this happening? They (robbers) know that there is a large amount of cash, jewelry and wallets with credit cards that are to be had at these poker games,” Spota said, answering his own question.
The D.A. also said poker can lead to a whole host of other problems.
“Players are losing their shirts,” he said. “They’re losing their homes. And they’re losing their families.
“As a result, the players become addicted and go to loan sharks.”
(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected])