AGA, MGCB Recount Loses to Illegal Gambling, Kick Against Offshore Operations



  • Despite the legalization of online gambling in the US, several states have been plagued by illegal gambling usually perpetrated by offshore operators.
  • According to the American Gaming Association, the country lost over $500 billion to illegal gambling activities in 2022 alone.
  • In recent raid, Michigan law enforcement officers seized and recovered 36 machines used in illegal gambling operations in Delta Township

Illegal gambling appears to be the most recent bane in the Michigan online gambling industry. Before casinos and sportsbooks were legalized in the state, many players looked to offshore and underground gambling operators. But two years after the legalization of Michigan online casinos, many illegal companies have refused to cease operations.

In recent reports by the American Gaming Association and the Michigan Gaming Control Board, the extent of the damage done to the state and nationwide gambling industry can best be described as colossal. Below is a detail of how efforts to clampdown illegal gambling have progressed.

American Gaming Association Reveals that the US Lost $510 Billion to Illegal Gambling in 2022

The American Gaming Association has, since its inception, made massive efforts to curb the harsh economic effects arising from illegal gambling across the country. In 2022 alone, the AGA revealed that $510 billion was illegally wagered nationwide. This amount accounts for unregulated gaming machines, illegal iGaming facilities, gaming revenue and lost taxes.

In its report titled Sizing the Illegal and Unregulated Gaming Markets in the United States, the AGA showed that the American government lost a potential $13.3 billion in taxable revenue to illegal gambling. Describing the poor attention paid to the online casino industry, the CEO and President of AGA, Bill Miller noted the following:

“I don’t think there’s any other industry in America that would tolerate a half a trillion-dollar illegal marketplace, competing with the legal industry. The illegal market is the single biggest threat our industry faces.”

However, many industry experts have casted doubts on the figures released by the American Gaming Association. The report was based on a survey of 5000 Americans which many believe is not credible or representative enough. In November 2022, the New York Times revealed in an investigative report that an AGA projection of $400 billion worth of illicit bets was unreliable.

Nevertheless, there are no questions as to the reality of illegal gambling and its scourge on the legal market.

Henry Williams, MGCB Gives Report on Illegal Gambling Clampdown

Unfortunately, Michigan is a major hub for illegal gambling in the country. The Michigan Gaming Control Board was established, among other reasons, to fight illegal gambling. In 2022, it took its efforts a notch further, achieving 17 criminal convictions of illegal casino operators and the seizure of over 350 unregulated gaming machines.

Henry Williams, the Executive Director of the MGCB stated in a recent interview that the authority works alongside the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and local law enforcement to clampdown on perpetrators of illegal clampdown.

“We plan to continue to address illegal gambling in Michigan in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Attorney General and other law enforcement agencies across the state,” said Williams. “We are concerned about the proliferation of non-regulated gaming machines in bars, restaurants, and party stores. The unregulated machines do not offer consumers the protections of legal, regulated gaming, and they also have no controls to prevent underage gambling.”

On the 16th of February, the MGCB announced that it had cracked down on an illegal gambling operation in Delta Township. The operation house which is situated at 3280 S. Waverly Road, Suite C-2 had 36 machines, including computers for online slots, table gaming machines, an estimated $23,000 cash stash and a coin pusher machine.

Earlier in the month, William Bradford Barksdale, an ex-Flint police chief was charged to the Genesee County Circuit Court on one count of gambling violations and another count of reckless firearm misuse.  He pleaded no contest to the charges and is due for sentencing on the 14th of April 2023.

How Customers, Legislators Can Join in the Fight Against Illegal Gambling

The American Gaming Association has promised to involve the Congress in this fight against illegal gambling. According to Bill Miller, the AGA is “continuing that war against the illegal and unregulated gambling world.”

“We’re using every tool at our disposal to go after illegal businesses. We won’t see these results overnight, but we’re in this one for the long haul,” Miller told reports at the beginning of this month.

Stressing the role of local authorities and attorney generals of states, Miller stated that the AGA is “weighing in with state legislatures to strengthen laws and close loopholes and working with private sector stakeholders to shut off platforms for illegal gambling operations.”

Citizens and regular gamers are also expected to join in the fight through anonymous tips. You can report suspicious gambling activity to Michigan authorities via (888) 314-2682, its round-the-clock mobile report line.

Jessica is a news contributor to Gamble Online Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics but has over three years of experience working in the hospitality and gambling industry. Despite her core finance and investment banking background, she has been a casino feature writer for N1 Interactive Limited and multiple gambling affiliate sites. Her work has been featured on the bet365 blog, and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments