According to local news reports, Joy’s Internet Casino in Tavares, Florida was still operating just a few hours after the gaming activity was the site of a brazen armed robbery.
Four men at the casino robbed several players, overwhelmed a security guard, handcuffed him, and before fleeing stole his gun.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said it needs to be investigated by a specialist narcotics team, currently busy with cases related to the opioid epidemic, in order to shut down the “illegal” location. A sheriff’s office spokesman told WFTV that closing an illegal casino is a difficult and time-consuming process, especially if they want solid cases against the illegal operations.
How much cash the robbers took on Friday from the players or the location is unclear. Cell phones were also stolen, officials said.
Soon after the heist, two of the suspects were arrested. Authorities identified them Steve Manor and Zakee Garhi.
Another two suspects remained on the loose. One was thought to be the mastermind behind the robbery, while the other was the suspected driver of the getaway, the office of the sheriff said.
While Joy’s and other internet gambling operations are illegal in Tavares, on Friday afternoon, Joy’s had a lot of players there, WFTV said.
The office of the sheriff reported to the TV station that such venues lead beyond illegal gambling to other types of criminal activity.
Police have recently carried out raids in Tavares on illegal internet gambling cafes.
Tavares police searched Dreamers on November 24, finding more than $10,000 from the venue and several laptops. In the past few months, WFTV said, the court-ordered raid was the second one in Tavares.
Police also arrested the owner of another internet cafe in Tavares, Lucky Time, on gambling charges in February 2018. Police said, according to the Daily Commercial, they found 50 computer hard drives and TV screens during the search.
Throughout recent years, the Sunshine State has been the scene of several other cases of violent crime linked to gambling. Two masked men wearing dark clothes robbed Dreamers Internet Cafe in Leesburg in May 2017. A pistol-whipped worker was in the head with a handgun.
In contrast, a Florida man reportedly shot a car in Holiday in November while a friend was inside. Before the assassination, police said, the perpetrator lost several thousand dollars to the victim in poker games.
Hard Rock Hollywood was the location of a male gambler being drugged in September in Florida, and two suspects later had his watch and cash stolen.
Based on the man’s statement, police believe the pair has slipped into the Hard Rock’s male gambler’s drink some kind of drug — perhaps a date rape narcotic. Previously, at a three-card poker table, the women were seen talking to the same man on surveillance video, and later at a slot machine.
The women walked the victim to a nearby car after swallowing the drink and feeling sluggish and took him to his hotel nearby, the man said. He told police that his Rolex watch had vanished after he finally woke up, with an estimated value of $15,000, like $1,000 in cash.