Michigan regulators send cease and desist letters to sweepstakes operators

Hands holding a handwritten stop sign
Image: Shutterstock

Michigan is proving to be a state that is increasingly looking at sweepstakes operators and other alternative games that mimic the experience of a casino.

This week, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) announced it has sent cease and desist letters to Stake.US, PredictionStrike, and VGW Luckyland at various points last fall asking them to cease doing business in the state.

“Gambling regulations are in place for a reason, and illegal gambling operations are not welcome in Michigan,” MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said. “We do not want businesses who skirt the law having access to Michigan citizens and leaving them vulnerable because they are playing on unregulated sites that leave them with no recourse, and that siphon funds away from communities because they are not paying taxes like a regulated, legal gambling establishment would.”

All three operators no longer serve Michigan customers. VGW announced its departure from the state last November.

Per the press release from the MGCB, they found each operator to be violating the following regulatory policies:

  • PredictionStrike offered internet gaming and sports betting without a license
  • Stake.us promoted an unlicensed online lottery
  • VGW conducted illegal gambling where people wagered something of value to win something of value online

This round of cease and desists follows a joint effort by the MGCB and the Michigan Attorney General to push Golden Hearts Gaming out of the state. The operator combined elements of charitable gaming and sweepstakes gaming was found to be in violation of both MGCB regulations and the law and reached an agreement to leave the state.

American Gaming Association CEO Bill Miller lauded the effort on Twitter:

The legality of sweepstakes gaming can vary from state to state based on local laws. Michigan is now becoming a state like Washington which operators in that vertical are choosing to no longer serve.