On Wednesday , the Michigan Gaming Control Board announced that it had confiscated an illegal gambling machine from a Sunoco gas station in Belleville, a lakefront hamlet that’s equidistant from Detroit and Ann Arbor.
The machine in question was a coin pusher, which is more commonly found in video arcades than casinos and was described by one YouTube enthusiast as “the closest you will get to gambling without going to Vegas.” (That’s true in an arcade, anyway, as there are tribal casinos all over Michigan and a trio of commercial casinos in downtown Detroit.) The coin pusher was confiscated after community members complained and the gas station failed to heed a cease-and-desist order that was served back in March.
“Illegal gambling can lead to other, more serious, unwanted crimes that compromise the safety of our communities,” MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said in a press release. “This investigation is a firm reminder that business owners should abide by the law and not offer illegal gaming in their establishments and, if they do, we are prepared to take action against them.”
Small beer compared to Gamblin’ Granny
There was no mention of any confiscated cash in the press release, which indicates that the coin pusher case is relatively small beer compared to more lucrative busts in Michigan, a state that’s taken an outsize interest in snuffing out illegal gambling in unassuming neighborhood locales.
By way of comparison, the MGCB recently confiscated 37 illegal gaming machines, along with $6,102 in cash and gift cards, from an internet cafe in Ypsilanti Township. The ringleader there was the cafe’s owner, 69-year-old Connie Durham, who, due to her age, earned the nickname “the Gamblin’ Granny of Ypsilanti.” Of Durham’s four alleged accomplices, one was 67 and another was 77.
“I am grateful for the collaboration between my department and the Michigan Gaming Control Board in furtherance of our efforts to shutter illegal gambling operations,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in the coin pusher release. “Illegal gambling diverts taxes and revenue from our communities which is otherwise used to support our state and schools.”
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