Whitmer’s Michigan budget includes funding to fight illegal gambling

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Image: Shutterstock / Gints Ivuskans

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget for FY2024-25 includes multiple allocations to the Michigan Gaming Control Board that weren’t in past budgets. Much of the new money earmarked for the regulator will go towards improved support for responsible and problem gambling programs and for additional funds for the agency to combat illegal gambling.

MGCB supports Whitmer’s budget plans, including more PG funding

Whitmer wants $4 million to go to the Compulsive Gambling Prevention Fund, which would more than double the roughly $3 million the agency receives annually from the MGCB, online operators and the state lottery.

The budget also earmarks $1.9 million for funds that, “will expand the agency’s regulatory capacity and enhance protections against illegal activity.”

“The Michigan Gaming Control Board is committed to promoting responsible gaming and enhancing its existing regulatory frameworks to protect the interests of the citizens of the state of Michigan. As the Executive Director, I fully support the governor’s proposed budget recommendations, which allocate increased funds for compulsive gambling prevention initiatives and the expansion of iGaming regulatory capacity to counter illegal activities,” said MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams.

“The governor’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2025 showcases a strong commitment to addressing the challenges posed by compulsive gambling and ensuring the integrity of iGaming operations. Earmarking funds for both issues will enable better education, awareness, and support systems for those susceptible to developing gambling disorders.”

“Additionally, the proposed budget’s allocation for expanding the MGCB’s iGaming regulatory capacity is a significant step forward in safeguarding consumers and deterring illegal activities within Michigan’s online gambling sector. As iGaming continues to grow in popularity, enhanced regulatory oversight becomes indispensable in protecting vulnerable Michigan citizens, preventing money laundering, and mitigating the risks of fraudulent practices.”

MGCB and AG have gone after operators they deem illegal

Michigan regulators and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office have been very proactive in pursuing operators they believe to be operating illegally within the state.

Last September, Nessel’s office pushed charity sweepstakes operator Golden Hearts Games out of the state. Last month, the MGCB in tandem with the AG’s office sent cease and desist letters to social casino company VGW Luckyland, Stake.US and PredictionStrike informing the companies that the agency believed them to be in violation of state laws. VGW Luckyland announced last November it would be closing down operations in the state.

While the group has actively pursued sweepstakes and other US-based entities, it has yet to take action on any of the offshore operators still opening their doors to American customers.