The Michigan Gaming Control Board is cracking down on illegal and unlicensed gaming machines, especially those in areas that are no longer licensed for gambling.
Machines, such as “pusher” machines that have appeared at local gas stations, are considered illegal betting machines and, according to a retired police officer from Dearborn, become more illegal when they use real money rather than tokens. .
“Push” machines have a bed where several coins or other prizes are placed and are pushed slowly forward as consumers drop coins or tokens into the machine.
Aside from using coins and even paper money, retired officer Rich Margittay said these machines are illegal because of the design, as they allow an unrecognizable amount of coins to spill over the side of the bed and return. at home, not at a player’s payment.
Margittay was an officer at Dearborn from 1969 to 1994 and completed a gambling seminar through the Wayne County Detective Association in 1987. The training, based on information from the Prosecutor’s Office General of the state, included the application of carnival games.
Margittay has written two books on illegal gaming machines: Carnival Games: The Perfect Crimes: An Alert for Law Enforcement and Would-Be Victims, published in 2009, and Carnival Games: $ 10,000,000 Hoodwink Racket: Organized Crime on the American Midway “. ”Published in 2011.
Margittay recently witnessed one of these “pusher” machines at a Dearborn gas station and said others had told her more in other parts of the city.
Rich Margittay, a resident of Dearborn, a retired police officer, said machines like this are popping up all over the city. (Dave Herndon – MediaNews Group)
“I noticed that this particular‘ pusher ’had been created to attract players, and especially children, with a sample of tickets of up to $ 20, swaying on the (obstructed) lip,” he said. “Possible winnings seem to fall easily on the cliff and the player’s hopper. This automatic chain reaction slot machine was designed with features that are difficult to detect to deceive players.”
Margittay said that aside from using real money, the lack of “skill” is what makes these machines illegal.
“Lacking the skills required by the Michigan Statute, this mechanical marvel is a ‘gamble’ and illegal if you do not have a Michigan State license for casinos or nonprofit fundraisers.” , he said. “Most of this players have declining returns … (and) they are tricked and eliminated by design.”
Last year, the gaming control board issued 41 search warrants and confiscated 1,033 machines with more than $ 248,000 in cash, officials said. They will now start repressing more with the help of the Alcohol Control Commission and the state attorney general. With the help of the two additional law enforcement agencies, the gaming control board is looking to expand the 246 charges of misdemeanors and misdemeanors that were issued last year, officials said.
Margittay said these machines are not about “winning or losing” for the individual.
“The machine will eventually win by the‘ law of declining returns ’or it wouldn’t be there,” he said. “My point is that the slot machine is illegal gambling under the Michigan statutes.”
(Dave Herndon – MediaNews Group)
He said he saw underage players in the store where he saw one of the machines.
“Only skill games with private benefit are allowed,” he said. “I watched a 14 (a) 15-year-old boy approaching and most likely was in the process of preparing to become an addict when he was an adult.”
Margittay said the use of paper money, which is aggravated by being attached to heavier rubber keychains, will attract “marks” to play on the machine.
“Showing $ 5, $ 10 and $ 20 bills, some on the edge, will surely attract brands to venture a few quarters at first,” he said. “The necessary skill element is missing, required by state law. The machine maintains maximum control and the player has minimal control of the result. It is not a legal skill game according to a study and a decision of the office of Michigan AG “.
The cover of one of Rich Margittay’s books. (Photo courtesy of Amazon.)
A spokeswoman for the game control panel declined to comment on the specific machine Margittay observed at Dearborn.
An information line has been set up to report illegal machines anonymously by calling 888-314-2682.