Police in Germany have carried out raids and arrested six people as part of an investigation into an unnamed sports betting operator.
The German sports betting raids took place yesterday (20 April) and followed two and a half years of undercover investigations related to the operator, with allegations including suspicion of forming a criminal organisation, offering illegal gambling and withholding wages in reference to undeclared work.
Raids were carried out by police from the German regions of North Rhine-Westphalia, Bremen, Berlin, Saxony and Bavaria, as well as authorities in Malta and Croatia. Raids took place at premises across all these regions, although the focus of the effort was Cologne.
In a joint statement issued by the Prosecution of Organised Crimes (ZeOS NRW) and the State Criminal Police Office for North Rhine-Westphalia, investigating authorities executed over 100 search warrants and six arrest warrants during the raids.
More than 100 private apartments, betting shops and other business premises were raided as part of the effort with over 900 emergency services personnel. The operation focused on locating evidence and securing cash and valuables.
Six male main suspects between the ages of 34 and 60 were arrested, while police said the investigations, in particular the evaluation of evidence located during the raids, are ongoing.
German sports betting raid
Although the identity of the operator was not disclosed by police, German newspaper Bild said the raids in Cologne took place at the headquarters of Tipster.
The newspaper, which published photographs of the raids taking place, said that the effort lasted a number of hours and included police trying to gain access to a secure vault at the location.
Tipster has been active for more than three years, offering customers a wide range of betting options across a number of sports and competitions.
The German Sports Betting Association (DSWV) also acknowledged news of the raids but also noted that the operator of interest to police was not a member of its organisation.
“The DSWV has learned today from the press about the large-scale police operation against a provider of sports betting in Germany,” the DSWV said. “This provider is not and has never been a member of the DSWV.
“We have no knowledge beyond the information disseminated in the press. The DSWV and its members support effective enforcement against providers who are not willing to regulate, because such action by the authorities will gradually dry up the black market and steer sports betting customers to legal providers.”