Mich. Internet cafes closed

Bryan Cohen May 8, 2012, 1:52pm


LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced an agreement on Thursday with Innovative Entertainment of Michigan to close eight Internet sweepstakes cafes indefinitely.

Under the terms of the agreement, Innovative Entertainment has remotely shut down the gaming software at Starz Cafe, Lucky's Internet Cafe, Knights Cafe, The Luck Spot, Cyber Cafe, Cyber Cafe 2, the Lansing Business Center and the Flint Business Center. The cafes are located in Grand Rapids, Jackson, Portage, Holt, Saginaw, Lansing and Flint.

The agreement between Schuette's Alcohol & Gambling Enforcement Division and Innovative Entertainment, which licenses and supplies casino-style gaming software, comes after ongoing work by Schuette's office, the Michigan Gaming Control Board and the Michigan State Police.

"Internet sweepstakes cafes that permit illegal gaming are nothing more than unregulated pop-up casinos and consumers should steer clear," Schuette said. "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."

The voluntary closure comes after a series of cease and desist orders issued by Schuette's Alcohol & Gambling Enforcement Division on April 9. The orders warned of possible legal action against the Flint Business Center, the Lansing Business Center and Cyber Cafe if they refused to stop ongoing gambling operations in violation of state gaming laws.

If any of the eight locations resume business, Schuette will take immediate action to shut them down through the civil or criminal court system.

Cases remain pending against the operators and owners of the businesses that may result in added civil or criminal charges. In the interim, Schuette's office, the Gaming Control Board and the Michigan State Police will continue to look into and close unlawful internet sweepstakes in Michigan.

Internet sweepstakes cafes are businesses that sell Internet access and an opportunity to play casino-style games on computer consoles with possible cash prizes. The operations are located in buildings with banks of computers with internet access. One purchase gives customers a certain number of sweepstakes entries. Customers then have the ability to reveal if the sweepstakes entries are winners by using computer monitors that active spinning wheels similar to a video slot machine. Such a gaming setup is in violation of the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act. The law strictly prohibits unregulated gambling.

The only gambling authorized under state law are the state-sponsored lottery, bingo, pari-mutuel horse raising, casino gambling licensed under the law and particular charity events.

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