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Poker and Gaming Rooms Robbed in South Australia
Two poker and gambling room robberies in South Australia in recent weeks may be causing some concern for private club owners.
One of the robbers was caught and arrested, but there is concern that the rooms do not have adequate security. Considering the amount of money that can change hands in an establishment that offers gambling, they become prime targets for thieves.
Late Night Alberton Robbery
Just after midnight on August 23, someone called the police to report a robbery at the gaming room at the Port Club on Queen Street.
The report was that two men entered the gaming room. They threatened the players with knives but injured no one. They were able to steal cash and leave in a vehicle.
Law enforcement officials took reports of two men presumed to be in their 20s, with detailed descriptions of their clothing. The patrons of the gaming room even gave detailed information about the car in which they escaped.
One Suspect in Custody
Several weeks after that robbery, one man was arrested. Police took a 32-year-old Taperoo man into custody and charged him with aggravated robbery of a gaming room at Alberton.
Since the police had to use force to take him into custody, the suspect was refused bail and remained in custody after his first hearing.
They were still seeking a second suspect and urging the public to call Crime Stoppers with any tips or information.
Late Night Robbery at Mawson Lakes
After 1am on September 17 – a Tuesday night – police received a report of an attempted robbery at a gaming room at the Mawson Lakes hotel property.
Players in the gaming room reported two men entering the room. One was armed with a gun, and the other with a sledgehammer. They demanded money. However, a security guard stepped in, inciting what was reported as a “small altercation”. The men left without money. After dropping the sledgehammer, they escaped in a silver sedan.
The altercation with the security guard was not small enough, as he had to be treated for a broken arm.
People on the premises gave detailed descriptions of the attempted robbers, one wearing an afro wig, as well as the getaway car.
Again, anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-333-000.
Clubs with Gaming Rooms
The gaming room robberies took place at non-casino establishments.
The gaming room on Queen Street is a part of the Port Club, which is described as the “spiritual home” of the Port Adelaide Football Club. Rooms can be rented for special events, but it is also a regular place for punters to gather.
From what can be gathered, the gaming rooms are reserved for private, members-only events and offer games like poker.
The APL (Australia Poker League) is one of those groups with regular events at the Port Club. The free-to-play poker league brings players together for casino-style poker that awards cash prizes but requires no buy-ins. As explained on the APL website, “APL gets paid by the pubs, clubs or hotels that choose to hold APL poker in their venues.” Presumably, it pays off for the venues because of the purchase of food and drinks during the events.
As for the Mawson Lakes Hotel on Main Street, its website openly promotes a gaming room with pokie machines and progressive jackpots. This is more of a traditional gaming room than the one at the Port Club, as it doesn’t offer poker but appears to stick to pokies.
Security for Private Gaming
Since the Mawson Lakes property was staffed with a security guard, that person was able to stop those robbers and force them to flee.
The Port Club’s poker room did not seem to have security on the premises, and no one was equipped to scare the robbers away. It is unclear if the Port Club will be considering hiring security going forward.
This seems to be a common theme in poker rooms around the world. Those held in private poker rooms don’t often have security personnel, and they become prime targets for thieves.
In America, Texas poker rooms have long been the targets of robbers. There is some ambiguity with regard to the legality of those private poker clubs. Therefore, official law enforcement patrols are not used for safety. However, after years of dangerous armed robberies, most poker rooms now hire private security personnel for protection.
There doesn’t seem to be the same type of legal ambiguity with poker rooms in South Australia. It might be time to step up law enforcement patrols in those areas. Above all, this would help prevent the recent robberies from becoming a trend.