Michigan Attorney general Dana Nessel announced that she had shut down illegal operations by Golden Hearts Games, a Massachusetts-based company, from within Michigan.
This ends a two-year long pursuit. Through the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division of her office, and in collaboration with the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
Golden Hearts Games is a charity-focused sweepstakes or social casino that allegedly offered online games without the necessary licence to Michigan consumers.
The American Gaming Association praised the move, noting that “kudos are due to the Michigan Department of the Attorney General and MGCB for teaming up in order to combat illegal gaming in their communities.”
The gambling industry association noted that they are also “setting an excellent example of how state AGs and regulators could work together to eliminate bad actors”.
Golden Hearts was the subject of an investigation that began in August 2021. The AG’s department issued a cease and desist letter the following year, which Golden Hearts allegedly ignored.
The department then sent notice to the group under the Michigan Consumer Protection Act that it intended to file a lawsuit in state court. This led to an agreement for the group not engage in any digital gaming activity.
In addition, the complaint alleged that Golden Hearts violated Michigan Consumer Protection Act because it misled Michiganders to believe that they were playing legal games.
On September 1, 2023, the company filed an Assurance of Discontinuance in the Ingham County Circuit Court.
Nessel stated that unlicensed gaming deprives our schools, our government and consumers of vital funding.
Golden Hearts, a company that circumvents Michigan gaming laws to make their games legal and safe for customers, creates a false impression.
“My office is dedicated to ensuring our gaming laws will be strictly enforced, and that those who break these laws will be held accountable.”
The Department of Attorney General and the Michigan Gaming Control Board have pledged to continue holding those responsible who try to exploit Michigan consumers through unregulated, unlicensed gambling.