Pair of storefront casinos
A string of raids in Michigan allowed investigators to recover 100 illegal gambling machines, $29,204 in cash, and 62 gift cards to two Flint-based storefront casinos.
The April 27 raids followed a joint probe between the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) and the Michigan Department of Attorney General. Those on the premises were served a search warrant, which was then executed by the authorities.
The recovered machines included both standalone and towers, on top of the cards and suspected profits from the ring.
Stopping illegal gambling in Michigan
Michigan legalized sports betting in December 2019, officially entering the Great Lake State into the gaming market.
Gambling has been rapidly growing in influence and visibility since a 2018 court decision largely expanded its legal premises. Since then, the United States, as well as other countries, have struggled to limit illegal gaming influences.
Mafia-backed operators have been especially popular in the underground crowd, which led to the recent arrests of six Genovese family members.
The MGCB initiated its investigation with the help of the Department of Attorney General after receiving a tip. This information pertained to the second of two locations that were hit during the raid and contained 65 machines.
illegal gambling machine operations bring unwanted crime to communities across Michigan”
“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,” said MGCB executive director Henry Williams. “The MGCB works to educate citizens and businesses about illegal gambling and to support state and local officials’ efforts to remove machines used illegally.”
Further legal involvement
The recent busts compounded on success early in 2022. In late winter, Lansing police partnered with the MGCB and Attorney General to serve search warrants to alleged storefront casinos; the first of these was in the Logan Square Shopping Center, and the second was 777 Games of Skill.
helped them find 82 total machines and $91,532
Authorities uncovered 28 slots, blackjack, and casino-style game tables, and 62 machines in total during one of the searches. The other helped them find 82 total machines and $91,532 in suspected illegal gaming profit.
Illegal operators conduct behind-the-scenes business to avoid paying taxes on revenue. Gambling winnings are subject to 24% withholding for federal taxes, though the exact figure depends on income.
In addition, the state levies a 4.25% tax rate on income, which includes gambling winnings. Michigan casinos must also pay back gambling revenues, usually in the neighborhood of 8%.
The MGCB lives by its mission statement to protect and cultivate the environment for safe, legal gambling.
“The Michigan Gaming Control Board shall ensure the conduct of fair and honest gaming to protect the interests of the citizens of the State of Michigan,” per the MGCB’s website.