The Department of Attorney General, the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division and the Michigan Gaming Control Board have issued an Assurance of Discontinuance to Golden Heart Games Inc.

The regulators found the ‘social casino’ company to be operating in violation of the Michigan state law, alleging they were offering MI online casino without a license. The investigation into the activity of Golden Hearts Games began in August 2021, and the Michigan Gaming Control Board decided activities constituted illegal gaming, working with the Attorney General to issue a cease-and-desist in 2022.

Golden Heart Games did not discontinue operations, and as such the Department of Attorney General sent notice under the Michigan Consumer Protection Act that it intended to file an action in state court.

Following the threat of legal action in the state court, the social casino agreed to sign an Assurance of Discontinuance, stating it would no longer offer its games in Michigan. It was filed in the Ingham County Circuit Court on September 1, 2023.

The complaint against Golden Heart Games also alleged that the company violated the Michigan Consumer Protection Act through deceit. It argued that the website tricked residents into believing they were participating in legal gaming.

Attorney General, Dana Nessel, stated: “Unlicensed gaming robs our schools and our government of essential funding and leaves consumers unprotected. When companies like Golden Hearts attempt to circumvent Michigan’s gaming laws, they create the false impression that their games are legal and safe for consumers. My office is committed to ensuring that our gaming laws are strictly enforced and those who violate those laws are held accountable.”

Sweepstake casinos are facing mounting pressure, not just in the United States but across the world. As with cryptocurrency, regulators are beginning to argue that converting cash into a ‘digital currency’ that can then be converted back into cash or other reward still constitutes a gambling product and these companies are often in breach of regulation in jurisdictions in which gaming laws exist.