Illegal casinos: Lansing police seize 82 machines, $92,000
LANSING — Authorities removed 82 machines and $91,532 from illegal storefront casinos in raids.
An investigation by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, the Attorney General's Office and the Lansing Police Department targeted two casinos in Lansing storefronts: one at the Logan Square Shopping Center at 3222 S. Martin Luther King Blvd. and another at 5031 S. Cedar St.
Most of the machines were removed from the Logan Square location after executing a search warrant Feb. 28, including 28 slot machines and a virtual blackjack table.
The South Cedar Street location had 13 full-size slot machines and seven other games that were removed March 4 after a second search warrant.
A spokesperson for the Michigan Gaming Control Board said in an email the investigations into both locations are ongoing, and that the machines are being held by the Attorney General's office.
“Unregulated, illegal gambling operations in Lansing invite crime into our neighborhoods and business corridors," said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor in a press release. "We are doing all we can to identify these illegal establishments and shut them down permanently."
Illegal storefront casinos are not new to Lansing.
In 2018, five Lansing women pleaded guilty to running an illegal gambling operation out of a storefront also at the Logan Square shopping center, with one sentenced to seven months in jail.
Later that year, Lansing City Council adopted an ordinance setting misdemeanor penalties for illegal gambling up to 90 days in jail with a fine of no more than $500. The ordinance also allowed the city to take civil action against an illegal gambling establishment and declare it a public nuisance.
"These businesses are lucrative for the proprietors and we must play the long game when addressing them," said Lansing City Council President Adam Hussain, who championed the 2018 ordinance, in a statement on Facebook. "They continue to disproportionately affect our impoverished neighborhoods and it's the people who have the least to lose who are losing the most. I continue to struggle with any business model that exploits people in that way."