State officials seized more than 100 gambling devices at a pair of locations near Flint in the largest such operation in Michigan regarding illegal gambling since the state launched its legal market more than a year ago.
The raid was completed in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Attorney General and the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Nearly $30,000 in suspected gambling money, as well as gift cards and gambling machinery, were seized at The State Road Spot in Davison, and The Bristol Spot in Burton.
Both locations were reportedly operating as social hangouts or public houses that offered illegal gaming to customers. An anonymous tip made state officials aware of the Burton operation, which ultimately led the MGCB to the illegal activity in Davison.
In a statement released by the MGCB on a state website last week, it revealed that the Burton location yielded 65 illegal devices, including 11 standalone gaming machines and 54 gaming computer towers. At the Davison location, officials found 35 machines (12 standalone gaming machines and 23 gaming computer towers). It is not clear if any individuals have been arrested by Michigan State Police.
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How Illegal Gambling Impacts The State Negatively
Illegal gambling is a threat to citizens because operators are not regulated and work outside the framework of the law that protects citizens. It also can be a sign that other illegal activities are present at those locations.
How would you know if you’re in an illegal gaming location? Consider these elements of illegal gaming:
- You are required to pay to play a machine or place a bet.
- The games you play are decided by accidental factors outside the control of the player.
- You are told you will be awarded a “prize” if you win, instead of a legal payout, such as a gift card.
Illegal gaming places consumers in a situation in which they have no protection against being scammed. They have no way of resolving disputes with operators or the suppliers of the illegal gaming machines. The activity also robs the state of revenue that it is entitled to under the law.
“Illegal gambling machine operations bring unwanted crime to communities across Michigan and deprive school districts of gaming tax revenue from the state to support education,” Michigan Gaming Control Board executive director Henry Williams said in the statement.
According to data from the MGCB, there have been 246 felony and misdemeanor charges in Michigan for illegal gambling since January 2021 when legal gaming launched in the state. As many as 41 search warrants have been issued, more than 1,000 illegal gambling machines seized, and more than $248,000 in cash forfeited to authorities.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board operates a 24-hour anonymous tip line (1-888-314-2682) and encourages citizens to report any illegal or suspicious gambling activity.
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Legal Gaming Offers Protection For Consumers
Gambling, whether it be iGaming (online casinos) or sports betting, is legal in Michigan. However, it must be regulated, and that’s a good thing for citizens of the Great Lakes State. The laws in place protect consumers from not being paid winnings, having a method for resolving disputes, and being a victim of fraud.
Legal sports betting apps and online casinos have been vetted and licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. They are mandated to provide a list of company officers and/or operators so those individuals can be investigated and approved to operate legal sports and gaming in Michigan. The gaming companies are required to report their earnings statements and pay taxes to the state on their activity. They are subject to review and audits. Their marketing and advertising practices are scrutinized to ensure that they do not use misleading tactics. They are also required to offer problem gambling resources and self-exclusionary lists to assist people who may have a gambling addiction.
Consumers do not get those safeguards from illegal gambling operators, some of whom are also engaged in other illegal activities.