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Michigan Gaming Control Board cautions charity poker workers about counterfeit bills

Fake $20 bills used to buy chips at Shelby Township event

Detroit –The Michigan Gaming Control Board is investigating a Newaygo group’s report of nine fake $20 bills passed at Shelby Township’s The River Poker Room recently.

Representatives from VFW Camp Trotter, a West Michigan children’s summer camp, told the MGCB its workers received counterfeit bills in exchange for gaming chips at an Aug. 7 millionaire party event. 

Workers discovered the fake bills while paying a tournament cash prize. The MGCB advised the charity to report the incident to the Shelby Township Police Department, and the fake bills were turned over to the police.

“It’s important that charities and their workers educate themselves about U.S. currency features before hosting millionaire party events,” said Richard Kalm, MGCB executive director. “Under state law, the charity is responsible for managing its event, which includes chip sales, and will accept the loss.”

Kalm advised charities to learn and use multiple detection methods when accepting cash:

  • Look at the printing quality: Portrait is lifelike and distinct from background, fine border lines are clear and unbroken, not blurred, and ink is raised and doesn’t bleed
  • Examine paper characteristics: U.S. currency is printed on fiber-based paper with tiny, embedded (not printed) red and blue fibers; the bill should have a thin, crisp texture
  • Inspect serial numbers: Should be evenly spaced and printed in the same ink color as the U.S. Treasury seal
  • Check for watermarks: Embedded to the right of the portrait on most series 1996 and later bills
  • Look for fake corners: Make sure the denomination is the same on the face and corners
  • Some organizations also use a counterfeit detector pen.  The pen can help flag fake bills printed on wood-based, or copier, paper. It leaves a dark stain when drawn across this type of counterfeit bill.

    The U.S. Secret Service website offers additional tips and information to help charity workers know their money and what to do when they encounter a counterfeit bill.

    The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing also offers training presentations and resources for the gaming industry on working with cash:

    "The Michigan Gaming Control Board shall ensure the conduct of fair and honest gaming to protect the interests of the citizens of the State of Michigan."