A professional poker player has been sentenced to 12 months of probation after admitting to operating an illegal poker room in the city of Marquette, Michigan.
Joshua Thatcher, 42, was sentenced after pleading guilty to one felony count of gambling operations.
As part of his plea agreement, Thatcher agreed to forfeit to the state all items seized from the location, including six poker tables, $13,050 in cash and other money held in bank accounts in connection to the investigation.
The poker room was known as 906 Poker Social and located in a commercial building just off Route 41, a main arterial road through the south of the city.
The opening of 906 Poker Social in April 2021 received significant coverage in the local media, with reports claiming that the new venue would not require approval from the Michigan Gaming Control Board as it was a private members’ club.
The club charged members a fee based on weekly, monthly or yearly memberships, plus a $10 per hour chair rental fee.
The facility closed on July 8, 2021 following a joint investigation by the Michigan Department of Attorney General and the Michigan Gaming Control Board Criminal Investigation section.
“Unregulated gambling operations do not offer Michigan residents the same protections provided through legal, regulated gambling,” said Henry Williams, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
“The Michigan Gaming Control Board’s mission is to ensure fair and honest gaming in Michigan, and we partner with the Michigan Department of Attorney General to investigate and eliminate illegal gaming activities across the state.”
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said: “My office remains committed to upholding business rules and regulations, and that includes our state’s gambling laws. I appreciate the work the Michigan Gaming Control Board has done to protect Michigan residents and businesses.”