Michigan Gaming Control Board Dissolves Illegal Slot-Machine Operation

Raid on Red Horse Bar in Saginaw leads to confiscation of six slot machines and $2,820 in gift cards used for illegal gaming operation.

Brad Senkiw - News Editorat Covers.com
Brad Senkiw • News Editor
Jun 20, 2024 • 17:35 ET • 4 min read
Detroit Michigan
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) announced Thursday that it broke up an illegal gambling operation this month. 

The MGCB’s joint investigation with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office led to a raid on Red Horse Bar in Saginaw. Authorities confiscated six slot machines and $2,820 in gift cards used for the illegal gaming operation. There was also $5,161 in suspected gambling proceeds found at the bar.   

“The Michigan Gaming Control Board remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring compliance with all state gambling regulations,” MGCB executive director Henry Williams said. “We will continue to work diligently to identify and eliminate any illegal gambling activities that pose a threat to the integrity of the industry and the welfare of the public.”

Felony gambling charges

A tip led to the investigation, and Michigan law gives businesses that violate the gambling law an opportunity to end the illegal gambling operation.  

The MGCB alleges that Red Horse Bar owners Christopher and Nicholas Adams failed to comply with a cease-and-desist letter to remove the gaming machines. 

That led to a June 5 raid on the establishment, and the two owners were arrested a day later on felony gambling charges. 

The brothers were released on $6,000 bonds each and face a preliminary exam on June 24 to address legal proceedings.  

The Michigan Penal Code “broadly prohibits any kind of gambling except for what is authorized by law, with potential consequences for Michigan businesses operating gaming machines illegally including criminal charges and/or monetary fines.”

Cracking down

Illegal gaming is a major focus in Michigan sports betting

The MGCB reported that 79 illegal gaming machines were confiscated in 2023. 

Michigan regulators are also looking to boot offshore sports betting operator Bovada out of the state. The MGCB announced that it sent a cease-and-desist letter to the illegal online sportsbook on May 30. The Curaçao-based company Harp Media, which owns Bovada, must end operation within 14 days from receipt of letter or face legal action for violating the state’s gaming laws.

“If people choose to ignore the law and don’t do what’s legal, we’re going to find them and hold them accountable for their actions,” Williams said at a gaming law conference in April. “In Michigan, the Michigan Gaming Control Board has made it a priority to do everything we can to protect our state’s citizens from illegal gambling market operators and our legitimate gaming industry from being tarnished by its illegal counterparts. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards illegal gaming activities.”

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