Father and son avoid jail time over ‘illicit casino’ operations

Taken from Google Streetview, May 2015, the shuttered front of Winners 777 in Shaftesbury Square, Belfast
Taken from Google Streetview, May 2015, the shuttered front of Winners 777 in Shaftesbury Square, Belfast
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A Co Armagh father and son have narrowly avoided prison over their role in running what a prosecutor described as “illicit casino” operations.

John Bailie, 66, of Francis Street and son Anthony Bailie, 41, of Boconnell Street, both Lurgan, were each handed eight-month prison sentences suspended for a year at Belfast Crown Court today.

Court

Court

The pair pleaded guilty to a series of charges under the NI Betting and Gaming Lottery Amusements Order 1985.

John Bailie further admitted possession of criminal property totalling £570,438 as a result of the racket which spanned a five-year period.

Belfast Crown Court heard that in January 2015 police carried out co-ordinated raids on three amusement arcades owned by John Bailie’s company Corcrain Enterprises Ltd who held council-issued permits for the rented premises.

Prosecution counsel David McDowell QC said the premises were ‘Winners 777’ based at Shaftsbury Square and Lisburn Road in Belfast, and at Chapel Hill in Lisburn.

The court was told permits only let them to accept stakes of 30p, with a maximum payout of £25, but gaming officials and police discovered payouts exceeded that.

The court heardconfiscation proceedings are under way to recover £570,749 from the company and John Bailie.

The defence urged the judge not to impose a jail sentence as it could stop him entering the USA where his wheelchair-bound son Anthony needs treatment for a muscle-wasting condition.

As well as the suspended jail sentences, Judge Geoffrey Miller QC also fined Corcrain £30,000 and banned John Bailie from being a company director for five years.