The gang switched between rental apartments to host illegal games – Image source: Twitter

Police in Paris have broken up a gang of poker cave organizers who have set up secret games for players across the French capital to display Covid measures.

On Saturday (January 23), officials from the French police’s gambling unit raided an apartment in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. In the rented apartment they found 12 players who enjoyed a game of poker in addition to € 3,000 in cash. Four organizers, aged between 25 and 32, were arrested in the bust after a two-month investigation.

In November, police were warned that the gang was organizing clandestine poker games for Parisian gambling enthusiasts during France’s heavy lockdown. Their service has proven to be popular and lucrative as the country’s casinos and legitimate poker rooms remain closed.

To avoid being spotted, the organizers changed the location of the games every weekend by booking short-term vacation rentals online. They would furnish the property to resemble a real poker den and even hire a professionally trained croupier to handle games. The players would be informed of the location of the game night via SMS before the venues were scattered in the south of Paris.

The group is accused of “conducting or organizing gambling operations in an organized gang,” according to Paris prosecutors, who said poker winnings of € 30,000 were found on one of their bank accounts. No players have been arrested, but fines are imposed for flaunting France’s strict Covid rules.

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