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Attorney General Nessel Shuts Down Internet Gambling Corporation's Illegal Michigan Operations
September 12, 2023
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, through her office’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division (AGED), secured an Assurance of Discontinuance on September 1st, effectively shutting down the illegal Michigan operations of Massachusetts based Golden Hearts Games, Inc. The out-of-state corporation was informed by the Department of Attorney General, working with the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), they were operating in violation of the law by offering their online gambling games to Michigan consumers without the requisite licensure.
State gaming regulators began investigating Golden Hearts Games in August 2021 and found Golden Hearts’ activity constituted illegal gaming, as they did not hold a license to offer gaming in the state of Michigan. In 2022, the Department of Attorney General issued a cease-and-desist letter to Golden Hearts advising that it was illegally operating. Despite the letter, Golden Hearts continued to offer its gaming product to Michigan residents. The Department subsequently sent notice under the Michigan Consumer Protection Act of its intent to file an action in state court. Faced with the intended lawsuit from the State of Michigan for violating the Lawful Internet Gaming Act by conducting internet gaming without a license, Golden Hearts thereafter agreed to halt its activity, signing an Assurance of Discontinuance stating that it would no longer offer its games in Michigan. The Assurance of Discontinuance was filed in the Ingham County Circuit Court on September 1, 2023. The complaint also alleged that Golden Hearts’ conduct violated the Michigan Consumer Protection Act by deceiving Michiganders into thinking that they were participating in legal gaming.
“Unlicensed gaming robs our schools and our government of essential funding and leaves consumers unprotected,” Nessel said. “When companies like Golden Hearts attempt to circumvent Michigan’s gaming laws, they create the false impression that their games are legal and safe for consumers. My office is committed to ensuring that our gaming laws are strictly enforced and those who violate those laws are held accountable.”
Golden Hearts’ decision to sign an Assurance of Discontinuance is the culmination of the Department of Attorney General’s collaboration with MGCB to hold accountable individuals who try to take advantage of Michigan consumers by offering unregulated and unlicensed gaming. Michigan’s Lawful Internet Gaming Act imposes stringent standards on those who are both eligible and suitable for licensure. The highly regulated industry ensures that Michigan residents are offered fair and honest gaming.