Two men have got prison time for operating an illegal poker club behind a health club for women. The ladies’ health club was meant to serve as a cover for the illegal poker room, which was based at Runnemede in New Jersey.

A recent report on the Courier-Post said that the judge sentenced 33-year-old Ryan Dion to 364 days in prison and 43-year-old Thomas Rand 270 days in prison. Both have pleaded guilty to operating illegal poker games. Rand and Dion had the assistance of three others who served as cashiers and dealers. All of them have pleaded guilty to the charges of illegal gambling slapped on them. However, a sixth accomplice has not yet been indicted.

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The illegal poker club was called Runnemede Social Club and was located behind Curves, a gym and health club for women.

Rand, a resident of Williamstown in Pennsylvania, agreed for probation after serving his 270 days in prison. Dion, a resident of Blackwood, has to undergo probation for three years after serving 364 days in prison. The three people who worked as cashiers and dealers in the poker club got probation.

In a press note, John J. Hoffman, the attorney general, said that “these defendants operated an old-school gambling club, complete with cash cage, poker tables, and a wide-screen TV for patrons to watch the sports on which they gambled.” He also declared that the “state will make every effort to remove gambling from the shadows of the black market underworld.”

Dion and Rand were charged with accepting rake in their illegal poker room, which had three poker tables. The illegal poker outfit was successfully operated for eight years before the authorities cracked down on it. While conducting a raid on the poker room in March 2014, the police confiscated $26,000 from the poker players and the operators of the club.

Elie Honig, the state’s division of criminal justice director, said: “The only healthy thing about the purported health club these men ran was their profits.”

Surprisingly, the illegal poker business was a roaring success although it never paid any taxes to the government and did not have a license to operate. The huge licensed and regulated brick-and-mortar casinos of Atlantic City, on the other hand, are not at all doing well and many of them had to pull down their shutters. Thousands of people employed at these casinos are now out of a job.

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