Outside of licensed casinos, slot machines are illegal to operate in the state of Michigan. While redemption games are legal in the state, investigators found that 14 businesses were claiming to offer redemption games when they were in fact casino-style video slot machines.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office and the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) joined forces in 2019 to issue cease-and-desist orders to businesses throughout the state that were offering illegal slot games.
Rather than potentially facing criminal charges, each business decided to close. Should the businesses have chosen to remain open, they could have faced some serious charges. Unlicensed gambling business operators could be dealt a 10-year felony charge.
Two of the 14 businesses have reopened since closing down.
“Illegal gambling can lead to money laundering and other crimes that impact the safety and security of Michigan communities,” said Richard S. Kalm, MGCB executive director, in a press release. “Legal gambling is taxed and regulated, and taxes go back into the community as funding for K-12 education. An illegal gambling operation doesn’t support the community but instead siphons funds away from it.”
Redemption Games Versus Casino-Style Slots
The biggest defining factor between casino-style slots and redemption games is that casino-style slots are based on chance, while redemption games are based on skill.
Redemption machines feature rolls of computerized cannisters that are spun. When the final row comes on the screen, players can either “nudge” it to a win or a loss. Players of skill redemption games say that the machine gives broad hints on how to nudge their final row of play.
Another big different is that redemption games don’t pay the players in cash, but instead print out tickets that the player can redeem for gift cards or merchandise.
“Whether they are a skill-based game is subject to interpretation,” said Andrea Brancato of the Michigan Lottery. “They have not officially been determined to be illegal.”
The 14 Locations Given Cease-And-Desist Orders
- Atlantis Internet Café, 759 East St., Lapeer.
- Bingo City, 4443 Dixie Highway, Waterford. Operation has since reopened.
- Burton Redemption Center, 5515 Davison Road, Burton.
- Fortunes Skilled Gaming Lounge, 1777 South Cedar St., Imlay City.
- Jackpot Island Café, 700 S. Main St., Lapeer.
- Jewlz Haven, 66783 Gratiot, Richmond.
- Lucky’s 7160 Highland Road, Waterford.
- Lucky’s Skill Game Café, 66830 Van Dyke, Washington Township.
- Monte Carlo Café, 723 South State Road, Davison
- Oakland County
- Spinners 777, 43648 Schoenherr, Sterling Heights.
- Stoney Creek Internet Café, 2040 Whittaker Road, Ypsilanti.
- The Nudgemaster Café, 3514 Plainfield Ave., Grand Rapids. Cafe reopened in January.
- Waterford Redemption Center, 3687 Highland Road, Waterford.
- X-Tech Internet Café, 290 South Telegraph, Pontiac.
State of Gambling in Michigan
While on-site gambling is legal and plentiful in the state of Michigan, online sports betting has currently been delayed until what lawmakers are estimating a debut date of 2021. The delay is due to the development of online rules that would adequately govern it, for the industries of online poker, online casino games, sports betting, and fantasy sports.