Niles business declared ‘illegal gambling house,’ told to closePublished 2:24pm Wednesday, February 20, 2013
The Cool Breeze Player’s Club in Niles Township’s Bell Plaza was operating as an illegal gambling house before it closed in late January, according to an investigation by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.
Donald Gipson, co-owner of the Player’s Club, was sent a cease-and-desist letter by the state’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement division dated Jan. 31.
The letter said the Player’s Club was illegally receiving money from customers in exchange for internet access and chances to win prizes by playing computer-based casino-style games.
If the business continued to offer illegal gambling, the letter read, those involved could face possible criminal charges or civil action.
The penalty for gambling without a license is a felony punishable by up to 10 years or a fine of up to $100,000.
Gipson responded to the cease-and-desist letter with a fax dated Feb. 7. It said the business had closed Jan. 29 due to “business reasons of a financial nature” and that it would not reopen or operate in Michigan.
Gipson could not be reached for comment.
The Cool Breeze Player’s Club is one of several internet gambling businesses across the state targeted with cease-and-desist letters by the Michigan Attorney General’s office in recent months.
The cease-and-desist letters were issued by the Attorney General’s Alcohol & Gambling Enforcement Division on June 8 after an investigation by the Michigan State Police, Michigan Gaming Control Board and the Attorney General’s Office.
Michigan citizens are encouraged to report any suspicious or illegal gambling to the Michigan Gaming Control Board by calling its 24-hour anonymous tip line at (888) 314-2682.