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Issue Date: Vol. 52, No. 5, May 2012, Posted On: 5/8/2012

Michigan AG Announces Voluntary Closure Of Eight Sweeps Locations

Marcus Webb
electronic sweepstakes, video gaming, video gambling, computer gambling, Michigan Alcohol & Gambling Enforcement Division, Innovative Entertainment of Michigan, Internet sweepstakes cafés, Bill Schuette

LANSING, MI -- In Michigan on May 3, the Alcohol & Gambling Enforcement Division, part of the Attorney General's office, said that it had reached an agreement with Innovative Entertainment of Michigan that will halt operations at eight of the company's Internet sweepstakes cafés indefinitely. | SEE STATEMENT

Attorney General Bill Schuette said the agreement resulted from an ongoing investigation by the Michigan State Police, the Michigan Gaming Control Board and his office.
"Internet sweepstakes cafés that permit illegal gaming are nothing more than unregulated pop-up casinos and consumers should steer clear," said Schuette. "We will continue to work with the Michigan State Police and the Michigan Gaming Control Board to shut down these and any other illegal gambling operations."

Innovative Entertainment of Michigan licenses and supplies what Schuette's office described as "casino-style gaming software" for eight Internet sweepstakes cafés in Michigan. Following the agreement with Alcohol & Gambling Enforcement, the sweepstakes operation has remotely shut down the gaming software at all eight sites. Two venues are located in Grand Rapids and the remainder in Jackson, Portage, Holt, Saginaw, Lansing and Flint.

This voluntary closure follows a series of cease and desist letters issued by Alcohol & Gambling Enforcement on April 9. The letters warned of possible legal action against three cafés if they refused to halt "gambling" operations that violated state laws. | SEE STORY

Should any of the eight locations reopen, Schuette said his office will take immediate action to shut them down through the criminal or civil court system. Investigations are still pending against the owners and operators of these businesses that may result in additional criminal or civil charges.

In the meantime, the Michigan State Police, Gaming Control Board and Attorney General's office will continue to investigate and close other Internet sweepstakes throughout the state that law enforcement considers unlawful.

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