HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveVolume 19Issue 1Three Michigan "Internet Sweepstakes Cafes" Raided

On Wednesday, December 19, 2012, the Michigan State Police, along with agents from the Michigan Gaming Control Board and the Attorney General’s office, served search warrants on three separate “Internet Sweepstakes Café” properties in Monroe and Washtenaw Counties where suspected illegal gambling was allegedly taking place.

84 computers along with their corresponding equipment were seized. Approximately $9,000 was also confiscated. Additional warrants were also served in the state of Ohio resulting in the freezing of $66,000 in funds related to the operations.

Sweepstakes Cafes operate similarly to typical Internet Cafes, selling internet access to customers, but bundle “sweepstakes entries” with each internet purchase. These entries then allow the customer to participate in a sweepstakes-style game to win prizes.

The State of Michigan has taken the position that, under the Michigan Penal Code and the Michigan Gaming Control & Revenue Act, unregulated gambling is strictly prohibited. Since May, 2012 the Attorney General’s Alcohol & Gambling Enforcement Division has closed 32 Sweepstakes Café locations in Michigan.

The Michigan State Police Gaming Section was also assisted by the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Attorney's office in Detroit along with deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and troopers from the Michigan State Police Brighton Post.

Michigan citizens are encouraged by the State to report suspicious or illegal gambling to the Michigan Gaming Control Board by calling their 24-hour anonymous tip line at 888-314-2682.


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