Law enforcement officials have issued cease and desist orders against 14 Michigan businesses who had been offering illegal gambling activities during the last year. This order came as a joint effort by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office and the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB).
According to investigators, the businesses claimed they were offering redemption games, which are lawful to operate in Michigan. Instead, law enforcement officials discovered that the locations were offering casino-style video slot machines. The machines were classified as illegal because they are considered games of chance and not based on skill.
In response to the order, the businesses chose to close their doors. This kept the owners from facing criminal charges. An unlicensed operator offering gambling activities can face a prison term of up to 10 years. Two of these businesses have since reopened.
In a statement provided by Richard S. Kalm, executive director of the MGCB, he stated, “Illegal gambling can lead to money laundering and other crimes that impact the safety and security of Michigan communities. 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 Michigan Attorney General also issued a statement, where she said, “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.”
Businesses in six different counties were issued the orders. This included Kent County, Lapeer County, Genesee County, Macomb County, Oakland County, and Washtenaw County. Oakland County had four businesses that were issued the order.
Meanwhie, the gaming control board is also working to implement legal sports betting at Michigan casinos. This on-site sports gambling is expected to be implemented in time for the NCAA basketball March Madness, which begins in the middle of March.
It is not expected that online gambling will be available for at least another year. This is a more complex issue because the rules governing the activity would be much more complicated.