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Investigators Break Up Illegal Gambling Operation Near Lansing

Anonymous tips helped law enforcement and the Michigan Gaming Control Board find the illicit parlor




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State investigators broke up an illegal gambling operation last week just west of Lansing, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) announced on Wednesday.

After an investigation by the board and the state attorney general’s office, law enforcement personnel secured a search warrant and seized 36 machines, including computers used for slot-style gaming, freestanding slot-type machines, table-mounted gaming machines, a coin pusher machine, and more than $23,000 in cash from the Cozy Barcade located in Delta Township.

The bust, which included the participation of the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department and Lansing police, took place on Feb. 16.

“Illegal gaming locations prey on vulnerable people and don’t offer the patron protections required for legal, regulated gaming,” said Henry Williams, Michigan Gaming Control Board executive director. “The MGCB will continue to work hard to protect Michigan communities from crime by eliminating illegal gambling. We appreciate the public’s help in identifying possible illegal gambling locations.”

Anonymous tips lead to seizures

Michigan investigators launched their probe after a series of anonymous tips about the illegal gambling operation.

“Illegal gambling diverts taxes and revenue from our communities which is otherwise used to support our state and schools,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “I am grateful for the work of the Michigan Gaming Control Board in putting a stop to these unlawful actions.”

Eaton County Sheriff’s Captain Rob Block said in the MGCB’s press release that such illegal gambling establishments often contribute to other types of crime, such as robberies, assaults, and drug activity. The operation took place in a former strip-mall convenience store called Cozy Mart.

The public is urged to report suspected illegal gambling activity by contacting the MGCB at 1-888-314-2682.

Voluntary exclusion update at board meeting

At Tuesday’s regularly scheduled MGCB meeting, board members were given information on the number of gamblers in the state who have requested to be removed from the Disassociated Persons list, in which problem gamblers can voluntarily exclude themselves from access to legal gambling. They may request removal after five years of being on the list.

The MGCB said the board has received 1,200 applications for removal from the list. Of those, 1,063 have been approved, 54 have requested they be put back on the list, 76 applicants were denied, and seven remain under review.

Photo: Michigan Gaming Control Board