Two alleged storefront casinos in Lansing were raided recently as part of a continued crackdown on illegal gambling by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
The MGCB, along with the Michigan Department of Attorney General and Lansing Police Department investigators, carried out the raid of two locations on Feb. 28 and March 4, respectively.
More than 80 machines and over $90,000 in suspected gambling proceeds were seized.
Where the raids took place
A search warrant was executed at Bourbon Street in the Logan Square Shopping Center located at 3222 South Martin Luther King Blvd. in Lansing, on Feb. 28.
That was followed by an executed search warrant on March 4 at 777 Games of Skill, located at 5031 South Cedar Street in Lansing.
“The MGCB is committed to helping communities statewide remove illegal gambling machines, and we are happy to support the Lansing Police Department in this investigation,” Henry Williams, executive director of the MGCB, said in a press release.
The MGCB was contacted by the Lansing Police Department this past October seeking assistance in investigating alleged gambling operations at the two locations. Police officials said several types of gambling machines were available for patrons to play at the Logan Square and South Cedar Street locations.
“Unregulated, illegal gambling operations in Lansing invite crime into our neighborhoods and business corridors. We are doing all we can to identify these illegal establishments and shut them down permanently. I am thankful for the efforts of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, the Attorney General, and other state agencies in working with the Lansing Police Department to shut down these illegal operations and keep our residents safe,” Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said in the release.
What was seized
There were 28 full-size slot machines, one virtual blackjack table and other casino-style games taken in the Logan Square raid. A total of 62 machines were removed from the location.
In the raid at the South Cedar Street location, there were 13 full-size slot machines and seven other gambling games removed.
In total, 82 machines were seized along with $91,532 in suspected gambling proceeds as part of the two investigations.
“Partnerships in law enforcement are a large part of successful crime fighting. This investigation shows how the efforts of Lansing Police working with MGCB and the Attorney General bring success to a complex investigation,” Lansing Police Chief Ellery Sosebee said in the release.
Not the first time Lansing has been raided
Lansing hasn’t had the best history in regards to illegal gambling.
Back in the summer of 2018, a group of five women were charged with conducting an illegal gambling operation out of a store in the Logan Square shopping center.
The business owner pled guilty to a felony for conducting a gambling operation and served time in jail.
Four of her counterparts pled guilty to lesser charges.
A total of 60 gaming terminals were discovered at the location while more than $67,000 was forfeited to the state.
Crackdown on pushers
Earlier this year, the MGCB has enforced a crackdown on illegal and unlicensed gaming machines.
Most notably in the crackdowns were “pushers.” Those are machines that have appeared at local gas stations. They have a bed where various coins or prizes are placed and slowly pushed forward toward the consumer. Tokens or coins are added to the bed in hopes to push a prize over the edge.
When real money is used as the prize, it makes the machines illegal.
According to the Dearborn Press & Guide, a total of 1,033 illegal gambling machines were seized in 2021 through 41 search warrants. That accounted for more than $248,000 in cash.
The MGCB publishes a fact sheet about Michigan law and a separate fact sheet on unregulated machines used for illegal gambling. Michigan citizens are encouraged to report any suspicious or illegal gambling by calling the MGCB’s 24-hour anonymous tip line, 888-314-2682.