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Michigan illegal gambling crackdown sees 14 venues shuttered


The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has revealed that it issued cease-and-desist orders to 14 businesses in 2019 as part of ongoing efforts to combat illegal gambling in the state.

Working in partnership with Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office, the MGCB sent officers to businesses that claimed to be operate redemption games, which are legal in Michigan.

However, when investigating each location, the MGCB determined the sites were instead offering casino-style video slot machines, which are based on chance and not skill.

Four locations in Oakland County were shut down in 2019, as well as three each in Macomb County and Lapeer County. A further two closed in Genesee County, and one each in Kent County and Washtenaw County.

Each location was given the opportunity to cease operations or face potential criminal charges, which could have included a 10-year felony charge. According to the MGCB, all of the businesses chose to shut down their operations.

“Illegal gambling can lead to money laundering and other crimes that impact the safety and security of Michigan communities,” MGCB executive director Richard Kalm said. “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.”

Attorney General Nessel added: “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.”

In December of last year, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ratified bills to legalize sports betting and online gaming in the state, paving the way for a 2020 roll-out.

Whitmer signed House Bill 4311, which creates the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, allowing the MGCB to issue licenses for online and mobile casino games.

Last month, it was also revealed that the three commercial casinos in Detroit, Michigan, posted a record $1.45bn in adjusted gross revenue for the 12 months to December 31, 2019.

Combined adjusted gross revenue for the MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Greektown Casino was up 0.7% year-on-year, or a $10m improvement on 2018.