Michigan Regulators Order Unlicensed iGaming Sites to Terminate Operations

According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), it is about time that three casinos in the state ceased their operations. The board recently served the companies with cease-and-desist letters advising them to halt their business because they were doing it illegally. The three operators that run their gambling business online include Stake.us alongside others. Gaming operators have established that these three websites were operating in the state without the proper legislation. 

PredictionStrike Inc., operating out of Bay Shore, VGW LuckyLand, Inc., of San Francisco, and Sweepstakes Limited, with its base in Limassol, Cyprus have been pinpointed for immediate closure. The directive of the regulator is that these three companies stop their operations by denying patrons access to their premises. By now the public is aware that they are supposed to keep off these places and will adhere for their safety

The Executive Director of MGCB, Henry Williams, has spoken about the directive stating that it is in the best interest of players. It is important to have gambling regulations in place and even more importantly a framework of enforcement. By cracking down on those who lack a lawful backing of the law, the market becomes a bit safer for investors and customers. Williams supports the regulator’s move as a way of sanitizing the industry. 

Businesses that skirt the law cause a serious threat to Michigan citizens because they play on unregulated websites that expose them to unscrupulous site owners. The biggest loser in such instances is the communities in which these businesses operate since revenue does not stream in like it is supposed to. A legal gambling business offers players a safe environment in which they can spend their money – they are assured that the systems are fair and grievances will be handled to their satisfaction. 

For a regulator to advise against the continuity of a certain business, they must have performed due diligence and discovered that the level of business does not match the level of development in the surrounding community. Michigan is among the six states that have legalized online casinos but this model of gambling must be adequately reviewed to ensure sustainability. In this regard, the casinos undergo serious probing before they can be issued with an iGaming license and declared an approved online gaming platform. 

It is a legal recommendation for iGaming firms to enter partnerships with three Detroit casinos that run commercial operations. An alternative for this is for the operator to partner with a tribe that has been granted a Class III gaming compact by the state. A good example of this is FanDuel which operates an online table games and slots venture through a partnership that exists between the sportsbook provider and Detroit’s MotorCity Casino. DraftKings also enjoys the same privilege with its iGaming subsector through the partnership with Bay Mills Indian Community. This arrangement has enabled the operator to possess and run the Kings Club Casino and Bay Mills Resort & Casino in Chippewa County.

Illegal Gaming Sites

The gaming regulators in Michigan were recently notified about the existence of websites that have been conducting illegal gambling activities in the state. After conducting thorough investigations, it was found by the regulator that PredictionStrike was offering internet-based gambling without having the required documentation from the authority. The state control also found that VGW had been running gambling games on the internet illegally. 

The board concluded that Sweepstakes Limited used the name Stake.us as a business name to run raffle and lottery games. Stake presents itself as a social casino but this claim has been strongly contested by the MGCB. The stake has brought on board the Canadian rapper Drake to act as a brand ambassador for its internet gaming operations. With such a popular personality on their promotional materials, it is challenging for customers to notice any foul play.

Michigan passed a law to legalize online gambling in 2019 in favor of tribal and commercial casinos. The Lawful Internet Gaming Act states that casinos currently approved and licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act are eligible to apply for consideration to operate internet gaming and sports gaming. This opportunity is also available to federally authorized tribal casinos in Michigan State. The state has given authority to prosecutors to issue significant penalties against those who have committed serious gaming laws. 

If an individual is found culpable of operating an online gambling outfit unlawfully, they face being charged in a felony hearing and could be penalized for a sentence of up to 10 years and fines of a maximum of $100K. 

The iGaming Disaster

Reports by the American Gaming Association indicate that there is a pressing demand for the legalization of online gaming all over the country. The argument among experts is that a legalized market is safer and more productive for stakeholders. Furthermore, regulation will push out bad industry actors from among the larger group and this will enhance the confidence of players. The truth is that there are gaming websites purposely designed to target unsuspecting players in the United States. 

The casino lobby recently called upon the Justice Department in the US to act in haste to enforce gambling laws that already exist. The scenario in which a player in the US can access and play on an overseas gaming platform is considered unsafe in the wave of prevailing dangers. The CEO of AGA, Bill Miller, appreciates the fact that many vulnerable customers need state protection. 

Final Thoughts

Not all actors serve in the best interest of players and these are the bad apples that must be done away with. If a site does not support fair play, does not offer any form of customer protection, and has no economic benefit to the community, it should not be in operation.