A Genesee County judge sided with the Attorney General by denying an Internet sweepstakes cafe’s request to stay in operation without the threat of prosecution.
Attorney General Bill Schuette has sent cease and desist letters to a dozen Internet sweepstakes cafes, which he contends are illegal gambling operations.
The cafes sell Internet access or long-distance phone cards. With each purchase, a customer receives free sweepstakes entries to play casino-style computer games for cash prizes.
Flint Business Center filed a lawsuit against Schuette and requested a preliminary injunction to prevent the state from prosecuting the cafe or seizing its assets
Even though only one cafe was listed on the suit, the outcome can impact enforcement of other operations throughout the state.
Judge Judith Fullerton of Genesee’s 7th Circuit Court on Monday denied the cafe’s request.
“The investigators of the Michigan State Police Gaming Section are committed to the enforcement of the state’s gaming laws, working in conjunction with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and the Michigan Gaming Control Board,” Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue said in a statement. “Businesses operating outside of the law will be shut down.”
An attorney for the cafe was not available for comment Wednesday afternoon.
The business agreed to close after being warned of potential prosecution.
The cafe argued in its lawsuit that it doesn’t meet the criteria for a gambling operation and likened it to a McDonald’s Monopoly sweepstakes.
Schuette plans to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.