LANSING (WJRT) (2/12/2020) - State regulators forced five Mid-Michigan businesses to stop offering illegal gambling.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board and Michigan Attorney General's Office collaborated on an enforcement effort during 2019 targeting illegal gambling operations.
Statewide, 12 businesses received cease and desist orders, five of which are located in Mid-Michigan:
-- Fortunes Skilled Gaming Lounge at 1777 South Cedar St. in Imlay City.
-- Atlantis Internet Café at 759 East St. in Lapeer.
-- Jackpot Island Café at 700 S. Main St. in Lapeer.
-- Burton Redemption Center at 5515 Davison Road in Burton.
-- Monte Carlo Café at 723 S. State Road in Davison.
Each of the businesses that state regulators investigated claimed to operate redemption games, which are legal because they are based on skill and not chance. However, the businesses forced to close actually were offering casino-style video slot machines.
Richard Kalm, who is executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, said illegal gambling often leads to money laundering and other crimes that jeopardize public safety.
“Legal gambling is taxed and regulated, and taxes go back into the community as funding for K-12 education," he said. "An illegal gambling operation doesn’t support the community but instead siphons funds away from it.”
Each of the 12 businesses who received cease and desist orders decided to close, rather than face a 10-year felony charge of operating an unlicensed gambling business.
“Gambling regulations are in place for a reason, and when bad actors choose to ignore the law, they must be held accountable,” Nessel said.