Police officers raided a massive Super Bowl party in Markham, north of Toronto on Sunday night and arrested six men accused of running an illegal online gambling operation. About 400 officers from various police forces executed search warrants after the kickoff at Le Parc Banquet Hall in Markham and nine other locations connected to the accused.
“We have also restrained the Platinum Sports website, which is an offshore Internet-based website allegedly run by this criminal group with ties to organized crime,” RCMP Acting Supt. Keith Finn said during a press conference Monday in nearby Aurora. He said police have been investigating Platinum Sports for several years.
There were around 2,300 people in attendance at the banquet hall which was allegedly being used as an illegal gaming house.
William “Bill” Miller, 49, Arno Thomsen, 45, and Shlomo Buchler, 40, Martin Spruce, 45, David Hair, 44, and Andrew Bielli, 48 face an assortment of organized crime and gaming related offences. News sources mention that Hair is tied to the Hells Angels London chapter and Miller has served as president of both the club’s London and Toronto North chapters.
All but the six men who were taken into custody were allowed to leave the banquet hall without any charges.
The police seized $2.5 million during the execution of the search warrants as well as 20 computers from the banquet hall including cell phones and business records.
Police are monitoring the Platinum Sports website and said that as of Monday morning, the website received 17,000 hits from people trying to collect on their bets.
The site was allegedly based in Costa Rica. Police said people in the Greater Toronto Area ran it via a call centre in the US.
This is another one of a string of arrests in connection to illegal sports betting that has taken place in recent months.