Popular casino in Kahnawake shut down amid accusations of fraud
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Popular casino in Kahnawake shut down amid accusations of fraud

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission has recently announced that they have shut down the popular Magic Palace Casino located in Montréal, Québec. 

The reason for such an abrupt closure of the casino and restaurant’s operations concerns multiple allegations of money-laundering and other criminal activity

In their full statement, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK) reported that “Magic Palace’s Poker Room operations continue to be suspended pending the outcome of the Show Cause proceedings.” 

The MCK also commented on the way in which the casino and restaurant under investigation was “allegedly being used to commit money laundering and other crimes.”  

In addition to this, the MCK continued by stating that the declared owner of the establishment in question, an undisclosed individual who was not originally from the community, “exercised significant degrees of control over the establishment and received the majority of the benefits.” 

By terminating their contractual agreement with Magic Palace Casino, as well as by revoking the casino’s Electronic Gaming Device license, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake has effectively removed all legal documents that would allow the casino to operate within the community. 

The Defense of Magic Palace Restaurant and Casino 

The official owners of Magic Palace Restaurant and Casino, Stanley Myiow and Barry Alfred, fully intend on appealing the decision of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission to shut down their business in court. 

The defense attorney who was hired to defend Magic Palace Casino and appeal the decision made against its owners was announced to be Pierre L’Ecuyer

In addition to stating that the owners of the restaurant and casino have in no way taken part in any criminal activity, the lawyer emphasized that he’s “extremely confident that [their] permit will be reinstated.” 

L’Ecuyer made some additional comments on the “undisclosed beneficial owner” brought to attention by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake. 

In this regard, the lawyer stated that Luftar Hysa, the unknown owner in question, is an investor of Albanian descent who effectively exercises no authority at Magic Palace Casino.  

In addition to this, L’Ecuyer remarked, Hysa’s status was already known by local authorities and subsequently accepted: “He’s got no pending charges, he’s got no record anywhere in the world, and he’s never been charged.” 

Despite the claims made by Magic Palace’s lawyer, however, an investigator at the Montréal courthouse had the following to say about the matter: 

“Everything indicates that Luftar Ali Hysa infiltrated the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory to facilitate money laundering activities on behalf of the Mexican Sinaloa cartel, as well as for his own benefit.” 

Comments made with regards to these allegations 

The Magic Palace company, on their part, made the following statement in reaction to what they refer to as false allegations: 

“Magic Palace, along with Mirela’s Restaurant, have announced a temporary closure until further notice. In compliance with local regulations, Magic Palace and Mirela’s Restaurant have temporarily suspended operations. Magic Palace and Mirela’s Restaurant express gratitude for the understanding and support of our patrons and the community. Updates regarding reopening will be provided in due course. Thank you/Nia:wen.” 

Cody Diabo, the Gaming Portfolio Chief at the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, commented on the following: 

“Closing a community business is always a last resort. However, the allegations of conduct that were revealed in court records created serious concern for the MCK […] In the end, given that we learned that there was an undisclosed beneficial owner in the project that was not listed in their paperwork, coupled with grave concerns we had with the manner in which operations were being conducted, we decided we must terminate the agreement.” 

In their full statement, the MCK had the following to say: 

“Following a review of publicly available court records that revealed that Magic Palace and the adjoining Mirela’s were allegedly being used to commit money laundering and other crimes, the KGC commissioned an independent U.S. consulting group with a specialization in gaming audits and investigations to conduct an investigation.” 

More about the Kahnawake Gaming Commission 

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is a gaming regulatory body that is in charge of regulating and licensing a wide variety of both online and land-based casinos. 

The Commission describes its online gaming regulatory services as follows: 

“Kahnawà:ke was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to recognize the opportunities afforded by the interactive gaming industry. Since then, the Commission has been continuously licensing and regulating a wide range of interactive gaming sites. 

On July 8, 1999 the Commission enacted its Regulations concerning Interactive Gaming. As a result it has effectively and successfully regulated interactive gaming longer than almost any other jurisdiction in the world. 

Online gaming operators that are licensed by the Commission must be hosted at Mohawk Internet Technologies, a data centre located within the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawà:ke and managed by Continent 8 Technologies.” 

In addition to this, the Commission describes its land-based gaming regulation in the following way: 

“The Commission presently licenses and regulates three (3) land based gaming activities:  Poker Rooms, Raffles and Electronic Gaming Devices. 

On October 3, 2007 the Commission enacted its Regulations concerning Poker Rooms. There are currently four (4) Poker Room licensees. 

On November 9, 2011 the Commission enacted its Regulations concerning Raffles (which did not come into effect until January 1, 2012). 

On March 29, 2018, the Commission enacted its Regulations concerning Electronic Gaming Devices. There are currently two (2) Electronic Gaming Device licensees.” 

More about the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK) 

“The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke is the organization that provides governmental, administrative, and operational services to the community of Kahnawà:ke. The organizational structure of the MCK is comprised of two main sectors: political and administrative/operational. The political sector of the MCK is comprised of the Council of Chiefs and the Office of the Council of Chiefs. The Council of Chiefs is the primary governing body of the MCK and provides political direction on matters concerning Kahnawà:ke and its affairs. The Office of the Council of Chiefs (OCC) provides support services to the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke Chiefs. Those services include negotiation, advisory, technical and general supports. The MCK is also indirectly linked to most of the community’s main organizations through the Executive Directors Committee."

"As MCK moves forward, the organization will continually have to adapt to the ever-changing challenges, issues, and needs of the community.” 

About the authorMelanie Cazenave
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A specialist in online casinos, she also loves proofreading. With her, it's impossible for mistakes to slip through the cracks. A true lover of letters, she binds articles and retouches them to make them as perfect as possible.

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