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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 7, July 2011, Posted On: 7/10/2011

Michigan Mops Up Massive Illegal Video Poker Ring

Marcus Webb
Flint MI bars, video poker, Michigan video poker bust, amusement business, video poker operator, video poker machine, Bill Schuette

LANSING, MI -- Michigan law enforcement officials have brought the total number of arrests to 37 in an ongoing action against a video poker operation run in bars and taverns in Flint and nearby towns.

Attorney General Bill Schuette said on July 6 that his office had filed 15 criminal charges against the two alleged ringleaders of the criminal group. Another 35 defendants had been charged earlier.

Investigations are still underway by the Michigan's State Police, Gaming Control Board and attorney general.

While no indictments have been issued yet, a news release from the attorney general's office alleges that one defendant expanded his operating company's activities to include the sale and distribution of illegal video poker machines to Flint-area bars from January 2007 to November 2007.

In addition to selling the video poker machines, this operator instructed bar owners on how to run an illegal gambling operation, Schuette claimed. The operator's advice purportedly included paying winnings only to patrons the bar owner knew, apparently in an effort to avoid detection by law enforcement.

The operator is also alleged to have assisted bar owners with cashflow by providing bags of money for large jackpots. Proceeds were split 50-50 with bar owners. Several bar owners previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the operation. Schuette said he has secured agreements for certain bar owners to testify against the two latest defendants in court.

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