Following a joint investigation by the Michigan Department of Attorney General and the Michigan Gaming Control Board state investigators, together with the Belleville Police Department, an illegal gambling machine was seized from a Sunoco gas station located at 496 Main St. in Belleville.

What is a coin-pusher machine?

The machine in question was a coin-pusher machine. A coin-pusher is a machine whereby a consumer puts a coin into a slot, and watch as it ‘lands’ in a random position on a shelf, and mechanical arms work to push shelves of coins towards a chute where ultimately the consumer can win multiple coins.

Industry estimates suggest that a typical quarter coin-pusher machine can generate as much as $200 in profits for an operator, thus proving lucrative for smaller operators.

The Sunoco gas station in Belleville had previously been personally served a cease-and-desist letter on 8 March, 2023. The investigation into the illegal gambling machine took place after the Michigan Gaming Control Board ‘received multiple anonymous tips’ from concerned Michigan citizens.

Executive Director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, Henry Williams, commented: “Illegal gambling can lead to other, more serious, unwanted crimes that compromise the safety of our communities.”

Williams added: “This investigation is a firm reminder that business owners should abide by the law and not offer illegal gaming in their establishments and, if they do, we are prepared to take action against them.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel stated: ““I am grateful for the collaboration between my department and the Michigan Gaming Control Board in furtherance of our efforts to shutter illegal gambling operations.”

He concluded: “Illegal gambling diverts taxes and revenue from our communities which is otherwise used to support our state and schools.”

The MGCB has an entire bulletin dedicated to types of illegal gambling activity. It broadly prohibits any kind of gambling, which ‘generally involves the elements of consideration, prize and chance’. Section 301 of the Penal Code explicitly ‘prohibits accepting money with the understanding that money will be paid to any person contingent upon the happening of an uncertain event.’

The potential further penalty for the Sunoco gas station in question include criminal charges and/or monetary fines, given the breach of the Michigan penal code.

Michigan is a state which legally offers most types of gambling. Commercial casinos are in operation in tandem with tribal gaming casinos. In addition, Michigan is one of a few states offering online casino.

The state of Michigan had (at the end of 2022) three commercial land-based casinos, 23 tribal gaming casinos, 15 online sportsbooks, 14 internet casinos and three online poker platforms.

Rhode Island recently penciled RI online casino into law. Given the state’s small population, it’s not one for analysts to get too excited about. For example, California sports betting, Texas online gaming, Oklahoma sports betting and Florida online gaming all remain of pivotal importance should the United States wish to reach the lofty potential it has been set by pundits.