The director of Seminyak’s newest tourist sports bar has been arrested for soliciting gambling on his premises. Michael Jerome Le Grand, 47, who is thought to be a long-time resident in Bali, was arrested on Saturday 29th June. Following days of questioning and investigation, police in Bali have released details of the arrest to local newspapers.
Le Grand was arrested alongside two women who are believed to be his personal assistants. The two Indonesian citizens have been named as Gri Lestari, 38, and Anggie Ayu Febbyan, 22, who are both originally from Java.
Police were alerted to Grand’s gambling operation by an anonymous tip-off. The police raided the premises just off Jalan Kayu Aya at 2.30 pm on Saturday afternoon and were able to gather evidence of gambling in progress.
The Denpasar Police released a statement to say ‘”Michael Jerome Le Grand was arrested along with the two women who were suspected of being personal assistants. We also secured a number of pieces of evidence. These include a laptop, TV, manual recap of bets, and cash in the amount of Rp. 22,400,000” (USD 1,508).
This was later reiterated by the Denpasar Police Commissioner, Michael Hutabarat, who confirmed that the trio was arrested for running a horse race gambling operation at the venue in Seminyak. He told the press that the trio was currently under arrest and that his teams were investigating their statements and are awaiting charge.
Le Grand’s ‘The Goat – The Pub of Seminyak – The Greatest Of All Time’ is only in its first month of operation. Police have not removed the business operating licenses although this is certainly on the cards as the investigation continues.
The pub held its grand opening event on Monday 20th June and targets its offerings for sports and music fans on holiday in Bali, and long-term ex-pats in Seminyak, Legian, and Kuta.
The venue has two levels and boasts 17 TV screens showing live sports from Australia and ensuring punters that horse racing will always be on. According to The Goat Pub’s website, the venue shows Sky Racing with sound ‘1st to last race daily’.
Le Grand may have opened himself up to vulnerability by specializing in showing a sport that is so synonymous with gambling. The Goat has also launched the ‘Lady Luck Horse Racing Fan Club VIP Membership’ which offers exclusive benefits for those who register.
Gambling in Indonesia is illegal in any form. This is largely due to the fact that Indonesia is a majority Muslim country and gambling is considered haraam. There are no legal betting shops, casinos, bingo halls, or lotteries in Indonesia.
The punishment for being caught or facilitating gambling in Indonesia is steep. Le Grand, Lestari, and Febbyan now face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison or an IDR 25 million fine (USD 1,685). Should the investigation uncover anyone who was gambling in the bar, gamblers face a fine of IDR 10 million (USD 675) our up to 4 years in prison.
Seminyak is a popular tourist and ex-pat area of Bali’s west coast, close to Kuta and Legian. The area is famous for its ex-pat-owned sports bars and is particularly popular with Australian holidaymakers.
Authorities in Bali are quick to crack down on illegal business activity, especially with regard to alcohol and money. In recent weeks authorities completed audits on money changers in Kuta and found that eight outlets in the tourism district of Kuta were operating without sufficient permits and were obstructing public access with their currency exchange rate signs.
As the Bali tourism sector begins to recover from the impact of two years of the pandemic, authorities on the island are working to ensure that businesses are operating within the law to help protect customers, communities, and the local economy.
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