Ontario Provincial Police unveiled its extensive investigation into a supposed illegal gambling ring in the Mississauga region. Five gambling webpages operating without a license were also located and associated with Hells Angels members. When all is said and done, the gambling ring managed to amass some CA$131 million over the past five years. Over the course of the first half of this year, the organized ring generated some CA$13 million.
Illegal gambling operation is harmful to both the economy and people participating in it. Its operation does not contribute back to the host community and problem gambling programs are unable to receive a fair share of its gaming revenue. In the meantime, the individuals involved in it are deprived of player protection in a situation of conflict or unfair treatment.
Illegal Gambling Ring in Ontario
Ontario Provincial Police worked on the investigation for quite a while now, researching everything they needed for the eventual bust. This includes months of monitoring and probing into the illegal operation of the gambling ring. As a result, the police discovered the main gaming den in Mississauga, as well as five online sportsbooks overseen by members of the Hells Angels.
They are known among local online gambling enthusiasts with their handles Ultimate SB, Titan SB, PlaytoWin SB, Privada SB, and Players SB. Ever since the beginning of 2018, an investigation has been in progress, eventually leading to the recent arrests of 28 residents of Ontario. The police reported that this has been one of the most prominent investigations of organized crime in the country as a whole.
Operation Hobart revealed links between three Hells Angels members and illegal gambling operation both at brick-and-mortar locations and online for easier access. Law enforcement organizations of London, Woodstock, and Stratford joined forces for the investigation. The Canada Revenue Agency was also involved in the extensive probe, eventually issuing 228 charges in total.
Raids Lead to 28 Arrested
Along with the arrested individuals present on the premises of seven residences, the raid managed to collect various objects and purchases. The seize includes upwards of CA$1.7 million in cash, some CA$320,000 in gold and silver, CA$303,000 in watches and jewelry, as many as 21 firearms, ranging from handguns and rifles to shotguns. The police also restrained nine residences with value upwards of CA$8.1 million.
Robert Barletta, ex-president of London’s Hells Angels is among the individuals facing charges of organized crime and possession of weapons. Bookmaking offenses are also linked to his name, as the organized gambling operation has been one of the great sources of cash. He has been associated with previous investigation and charges related to illegal gambling, along with another individual arrested – Gordan Baird.
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Platinum SB has been a topic of discussion in the past, as it amassed some CA$103 million between 2009 and 2013. Allegations link Hells Angels Craig McIlquham, Eugenio (Gino) Reda, as well as possibly Raffaele Simonelli, have overseen the operation of the five sportsbooks. A link has been found between this organized ring and the Figliomeni Crime Family. It could be recalled that allegations made earlier this year hinted at CA$70 million laundered through illegal gambling operation in Ontario.