Michigan to educate public and remove unregulated machines used for illegal gaming

13 January 2022

(PRESS RELEASE) -- The Michigan Gaming Control Board and Michigan Liquor Control Commission will conduct a statewide public education and enforcement initiative in 2022 to encourage businesses to remove unregulated machines used for illegal gaming.

“Illegal gambling can lead to other, more serious crimes that compromise safety in Michigan communities,” said Henry Williams, MGCB executive director. “Citizens who use these unregulated machines also have little recourse if they feel cheated. They can’t file a formal dispute with an unregulated operator and ask our agency to review the outcome as they can when participating in licensed, legal gaming.”

Working together, the two state agencies hope better knowledge about illegal gambling coupled with heightened awareness of its consequences will curb illegal gambling in Michigan.

“Liquor licensees who allow illegal gambling and who fail to remove gambling devices used for illegal gaming from their businesses can face violations from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission,” said MLCC Chair Pat Gagliardi. “Illegal gambling is considered a serious violation by the Commission, and the penalties from a violation can include fines, suspension or revocation of a liquor license. Liquor licensees are encouraged to utilize only legal forms of gambling to stay compliant with the Commission’s laws and rules.”

The state agencies will share information with businesses and the general public about what is legal in Michigan. They hope to counteract misleading information the public and businesses receive about unregulated machines used for illegal gaming. The misleading information often comes from machine and software suppliers.

Michigan law broadly prohibits any kind of gambling unless specifically authorized under state law such as gambling machines operated within licensed casinos.

"Laws that authorize and regulate gaming in the State of Michigan serve to protect consumers who wish to gamble," Attorney General Dana Nessel said. "My office stands ready to assist the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and Michigan Gaming Control Board in this important enforcement effort. We will not hesitate to hold people accountable if they ignore this opportunity to voluntarily remove illegal gambling machines."

Communications materials will help businesses and the public identify what is and isn’t legal. This includes a fact sheet about Michigan law and a separate fact sheet on unregulated machines used for illegal gaming.

“With additional education, we hope business owners will do the right thing and not offer illegal gaming in their establishments,” Williams said. “However, we are prepared to enforce Michigan law and take action against those who violate it.”

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