Chumba Casino, LuckyLand Slots Operator Leaving Michigan

Written By Drew Ellis on October 25, 2023 - Last Updated on January 19, 2024
Image of a man kicking for story on Michigan kicking out Chumba Casino, LuckyLand Slots operator VGW

More online casinos are leaving Michigan.

Specifically, Virtual Gaming Worlds (VGW) will be shutting down operations of Chumba Casino, Luckyland Slots and Global Poker in Michigan.

According to VGW, they “continually evaluate their business operations in the interests of all their stakeholders and after careful consideration they have decided to take this course of action.”

VGW is making its choice to leave, while recently Golden Heart Games, Inc. was forced to leave the state in September.

Michigan is the first state with legal online casinos to see Chumba Casino leave

Chumba Casino is the most recognizable US social casino. It and other VGW social casinos had been active in all US states except Washington and Idaho. Now, we can add Michigan to that list.

Notably, social casinos like Chumba Casino utilize a sweepstakes model. Instead of monetary units, the Australian-based sites utilize play chips while allowing users to secure Sweeps Coins. Sweeps Coins can then be redeemed for prizes.

Golden Hearts used a similar format, where winners received Sweeps Coins that they could exchange for cash payouts or digital gift cards. It essentially mimics Michigan online casinos without being regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel shut down the Massachusetts-based Golden Heart Games last month, deeming it illegal gambling.

“Unlicensed gaming robs our schools and our government of essential funding and leaves consumers unprotected,” Nessel said in a release. “When companies like Golden Hearts attempt to circumvent Michigan’s gaming laws, they create the false impression that their games are legal and safe for consumers. My office is committed to ensuring that our gaming laws are strictly enforced and those who violate those laws are held accountable.”

Michigan will now be one of three states where VGW products won’t be available.

When will Chumba, LuckyLand stop operating in Michigan?

VGW has informed PlayMichigan‘s parent company, Catena Media, that their customers will no longer be able to purchase Gold Coins as of Nov. 1.

Those with Gold Coins or Sweeps Coins in their bankroll will be able to play VGW games until Dec. 1.

Any Sweeps Coins won prior to Dec. 1 can still be redeemed for prizes up until Feb. 1, 2024. After that date, customers won’t be able to make any further redemptions.

Any mail-in requests for free Sweeps Coins will no longer be accepted starting on Dec. 1.

Michigan focused on unregulated sports betting as well

These efforts to put an end to unregulated online casinos are similar to what we are seeing with the efforts to crack down on Daily Fantasy Pick’em sites.

The MGCB put in place new legislation, The Fantasy Contests Consumer Protection Act, that went into effect on Oct. 11.

“Fantasy contests, like any other form of competitive gaming, thrive on rules and regulations,” MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said in a press release. “The Administrative Rules, which were reviewed by the Michigan Legislature, provide a level playing field for all fantasy contest operators and participants, and will help ensure that fairness, transparency, and integrity are upheld.”

With the new legislation, Michigan now bans over/under props on individual players that mimic legal Michigan sports betting. That includes sites like PrizePicks, Underdog Fantasy and Sleeper.

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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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