Romulus Granny Gets One Year Probation for Illegal Gambling in Michigan

Jessica Aletor
By:
Jessica Aletor
07/04/2023/
News
Slots 7

Highlights

  • A Romulus woman, Connie Durham, has been sentenced at the Washtenaw County Circuit Court.
  • Durham pled guilty to a sole felony charge of operating illegal gambling platforms alongside four employees.
  • Earlier, Connie Durham had forfeited about 37 machines and $6000 worth of profits and gift cards from her illegal business.

A Washtenaw County Circuit Court in Michigan has sentenced the owner of an illegal gambling company in Ypsilanti Township. The culprit, Connie Durham, aged 69, was initially charged with seven criminal counts back in August 2022, including four felony counts of maintaining illegal gambling operations.

Durham was charged alongside four of her employees, namely Cecil Roberson, Timothy Reardon, Angela Amperez-Lopez and Beverly Weatherspoon.

In addition to her one year probation sentence and 50 hours of community service, she forfeited 37 computers and gaming machines, and $6,012 in cash and gift cards.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board, in conjunction with law enforcement, have secured the sentencing of Connie Durham, a native of Romulus, Michigan. Prior to her arrest, Durham owned Stony Creek, an illegal gambling company located at 2040 Whittaker, Suite 5, Ypsilanti Township.

In addition to four felony counts, Durham was also charged with two counts involving the use of a computer for criminal activity and a misdemeanor bordering on maintaining a gambling house for profit. At the Washtenaw County Circuit Court, the 69-year-old pled guilty to one felony charge of illegal gambling operations.

The Michigan Department of Attorney General issued several warrants and conducted investigations into the operations of Durham's Stony Creek. Authorities have since closed down the illegal gambling location and confiscated properties from the site.

Timothy Reardon, aged 43, an employee of Durham was charged on the exact same counts as the mastermind of the Ypsilanti illegal gambling operation. Other employees of Durham were charged as follows:

  • Cecil E. Roberson was charged on two felony counts of gambling operations and using computers to commit a crime as well as a high court misdemeanor of maintaining a gambling house for gain.
  • Angela M. Amperez-Lopez was charged on one felony count of gambling operations, one felony count of using computers to commit a crime and a high court misdemeanor of maintaining a gambling house for gain.
  • Beverly M. Weatherspoon was charged on one felony count of gambling operations, two felony counts of using computers to commit a crime and one high court misdemeanor of maintaining a gambling house for gain.

How Illegal Gambling Affects Michigan Communities, Schools and Public Facilities

Michigan law enforcement have ramped up efforts to clamp down on illegal gambling locations and online casinos since the start of 2022. Several Michiganders have been convincted and sentenced to months of probation or jail time for their participation in illegal gambling activities. Back in February, the Michigan Gaming Control Board confiscated over $23,000 and 36 machines in a raid conducted in Delta Township.

In a release from the MGCB, the Michigan Attorney General stressed how inimical illegal gambling was to the economy of the Wolverine State.

“Illegal gambling diverts taxes and revenue from our communities which is otherwise used to support our state and schools,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel. “My office remains committed to upholding our state’s gambling laws and appreciates the hard work of the Michigan Gaming Control Board.”

Henry Williams, the Director of the MGCB also stressed that turning a blind eye to illegal gambling may give rise to several other crimes.

“Illegal gambling operations typically target vulnerable people and don’t offer patron protections such as self-exclusion options, reviewed and approved games and machines or dispute resolution,” said Henry Williams. “An illegal gambling operation also can attract other types of crime to neighborhoods including illegal drugs and human trafficking.”

Professor Leads Petition to End Partnership Between MSU and Caesars Sportsbook

Away from illegal gambling, a petition has been circulation around the Michigan State University campus in the wake of new AGA marketing guidelines. Led by John Kerr, a sustainability professor at the University, the petition seeks to bring an end to the partnership between Michigan State University and Caesars Sportsbook MI.

The petition has garnered 300 signatures since it was first introduced on Tuesday, April 5. It attempts to criticize the university for its failure to protect the mental health of its students and faculty by the continuance of the partnership.

“Taking a page from the stereotypical image of a drug pusher, Caesars and the other large online gambling companies lure customers with free bets worth hundreds of dollars,” the petition reads. “Young men tend to be eager recruits; being knowledgeable about sports leads many of them to assume they will be successful gamblers. Even the American Gaming Association (AGA) has a code of conduct against advertising gambling on university campuses, but MSU has embraced it. The number of MSU students engaging in online gambling is unknown, but given our large student body, the number is probably high. If we create even one problem gambler that will be too many, but probably we are creating hundreds of them.”

Since the petition started circulating, the University authorities have put out word that efforts are ongoing to end the partnership. 

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, casino.zone and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments