On Wednesday, the Michigan Gaming Control Board announced that in 2019 it issued 14 businesses cease-and-desist orders to stop offering alleged illegal gambling, through a joint enforcement effort with Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office.
According to the MGCB, it investigated businesses that claimed to operate legal “redemption games,” but upon further look were actually offering video slots gambling. A redemption game is typically an arcade-style machine that is based on skill, not luck. They do award prizes.
The Wolverine State’s commercial casino regulator said that none of the 14 businesses ended up continuing the unlicensed gambling after being issued the cease-and-desist orders.
Each location “chose to close” rather than face potential criminal charges, the MGCB said. An unlicensed gambling business operator could be hit with a felony charge carrying up to 10 years in prison.
“Illegal gambling can lead to money laundering and other crimes that impact the safety and security of Michigan communities,” Richard Kalm, MGCB executive director, said in a statement. “Legal gambling is taxed and regulated, and taxes go back into the community as funding for K-12 education. An illegal gambling operation doesn’t support the community but instead siphons funds away from it.”
The crackdown came as commercial casino revenue in Detroit remained flat for yet another year. Unlicensed slot-style gambling machines pose a significant threat to state revenues, as about 80% of Detroit casino revenue comes from the one-armed bandits.
Michigan AG Nessel commented:
“Gambling regulations are in place for a reason, and when bad actors choose to ignore the law, they must be held accountable. We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with our partners at the Michigan Gaming Control Board in putting a stop to these illegal operations.”
Casino-style gambling is only legal at the three commercial casinos in Detroit and at the federally regulated tribal casinos sprinkled around the state.
The MGCB regulates commercial casino gaming, but the tribes were included in the state oversight for online gambling under a gambling expansion package that cleared the legislature late last year and was later signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Licensed online gambling should launch sometime in 2021.
According to the MGCB, the locations ordered in 2019 to cease offering illegal gambling games were:
- The Nudgemaster Café, 3514 Plainfield Ave., Grand Rapids
- Fortunes Skilled Gaming Lounge, 1777 South Cedar St., Imlay City
- Atlantis Internet Café, 759 East St., Lapeer
- Jackpot Island Café, 700 S. Main St., Lapeer
- Burton Redemption Center, 5515 Davison Road, Burton
- Monte Carlo Café, 723 South State Road, Davison
- Jewlz Haven, 66783 Gratiot, Richmond
- Spinners 777, 43648 Schoenherr, Sterling Heights
- Lucky’s Skill Game Café, 66830 Van Dyke, Washington Township
- Internet Café, 290 South Telegraph, Pontiac
- Lucky’s, 7160 Highland Road, Waterford
- Bingo City, 4443 Dixie Highway, Waterford
- Waterford Redemption Center, 3687 Highland Road, Waterford
- Stoney Creek Internet Café, 2040 Whittaker Road, Ypsilanti
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