Investigators in Michigan continue to nab illegal gaming operators in the state. A joint raid on Sept. 28 and 29, conducted by the Michigan Department of Attorney General and the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), seized 56 illegal gaming machines in southeast Michigan.
Since launching legal sports betting in the state in early 2021, Michigan authorities have not ceased in efforts to act on tips leading them to illegal gaming and betting operations. According to reporting by MLive, the authorities seized over $12,700 in gambling profits in separate raids.
Regulatory bodies need to shut down illegal gaming operators because they jeopardize the safety of Michigan citizens. Even those who are typically law-abiding can inadvertently participate in criminal activity. Moreover, the same operators conducting illegal gaming are also often involved in other unlawful activities. These include racketeering, drug and weapon possession, and money laundering.
Illegal Gaming Machines
Authorities made a total of four raids, according to the MGCB. The raids occurred in Redford Township, at Taylor and Allen Park gas stations, and a storefront in the Flint area.
MGCB executive director Henry Williams said:
The MGCB works closely with local law enforcement agencies to investigate alleged illegal gambling locations, which do not provide the protections associated with legal, regulated gaming and can bring unwanted crime to neighborhoods.
Earlier in September, sentences were handed down to those convicted of operating illegal Michigan sportsbooks in Macomb County.
All legal sportsbooks and casinos in Michigan must be licensed and regulated by the MGCB. Illegal operators are not bound to follow the guidelines of safety and transparency of reputable gaming operators. If you place a wager with an illegal betting operator in Michigan, you may be breaking the law, and your money is not protected from fraud or dispute.
Illegal gaming operators often use outdated and unregulated machines, such as simple slot-style machines. In one raid last month, Michigan authorities took possession of a “coin pusher” device. These machines allow players to deposit a quarter in the hopes of pushing other coins off the edge of the game platform. The player can then collect any coins which fall. These types of gaming machines are illegal in Michigan.
The Flint Raid
On Sept. 29, the MGCB, personnel from the Michigan Department of Attorney General, and members of local police performed a successful raid in the Flint area in Mundy Township.
The target was a storefront that allegedly offered “promotional” play on casino-style games to customers who paid inflated prices for snacks and refreshments. According to the MGCB, authorities confiscated $9,141 at the location as alleged profits from the illegal gaming business.
The State of Michigan has a Responsible Gaming website and offers a 24-hour toll-free helpline, 1-800-270-7117, which is there to assist citizens who think they may have a gambling problem.
There are also resources available for reporting suspicious gambling behavior by calling 1-888-314-2682. The Macomb County illegal gambling ring was busted in part due to such a tip from local citizens. You can also view a detailed Fact Sheet About Legal Gambling in Michigan, available from the State website.
Police have not yet announced charges or the names of the individuals operating the games. However, the addresses of the raids were:
- 19350 Ecorse Road in Allen Park, MI
- The Hot Spot, located at 5542 Fenton Road in Mundy Township, MI
- 25845 Eight Mile Road in Redford Township, MI
- 8808 Pelham Road in Taylor, MI
Thus far in 2022, authorities have seized over 110 illegal gaming devices, over $30,000 in cash allegedly earned from illicit betting and gaming, and arrested at least five individuals.