Michigan investigators seize 36 machines, 23K+ in cash from alleged illegal gaming operation

Michigan state investigators have seized 36 machines including computers used as slot-style gaming machines, freestanding slot-style gaming machines, table-mounted gaming machines, a coin pusher machine and more than $23,000 in related cash on Feb. 16 from an alleged illegal gaming operation, named Cozy Barcade, in Delta Township.

Following an investigation by the Michigan Department of Attorney General and Michigan Gaming Control Board, search warrants were served at the business with assistance from the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department and Lansing Police Department.

“Illegal gaming locations prey on vulnerable people and don’t offer the patron protections required for legal, regulated gaming,” said Henry Williams, Michigan Gaming Control Board executive director. “The MGCB will continue to work hard to protect Michigan communities from crime by eliminating illegal gambling. We appreciate the public’s help in identifying possible illegal gambling locations.”

“Illegal gambling diverts taxes and revenue from our communities which is otherwise used to support our state and schools,” added Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “I am grateful for the work of the Michigan Gaming Control Board in putting a stop to these unlawful actions.”

The investigation began after the MGCB received several anonymous tips about the alleged illegal gambling location. “We have received several complaints from residents in the area about this place,” noted Captain Rob Block, Eaton County Office of the Sheriff. “These establishments breed other types of crimes such as robberies, assaults and drug activity.”

The announcement comes less than a month after former professional poker player Joshua T. Thatcher was sentenced for running an illegal gambling operation in Marquette by the same law enforcement agencies.

Michigan is one of the most liberal states in the US for gambling, with online gaming and sports betting legal as well as the retail counterparts. Michigan’s internet gaming and sports betting operators recorded $187.3 million in January 2023 gross receipts, as per latest data available.