On Thursday, the gambling regulator in the state, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), unveiled details regarding the recent sentencing. The regulator explained that Thatcher was sentenced to 12 months of probation on January 19, 2023. The penalty comes after the poker pro pleaded guilty early in December to one felony count for his participation in an illegal poker business. The poker room, located at 1200 S. Front St., Marquette was also known as 906 Poker Social.
The location was described as a private poker membership club where members can play against each other. An investigation uncovered that Thatcher collected a $10 per hour fee per chair, as well as a weekly, monthly or yearly membership fees. Besides poker, 906 Poker Social offered other gambling games as well.
The location opened its doors on April 1, 2021, and was closed on July 8, 2021. The shutdown came after an investigation led by MGCB’s Criminal Investigation unit in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Attorney General.
Besides 12 months of probation, under his guilty plea, Thatcher agreed to forfeit money and equipment that was sized from the illegal gambling operation. This included six poker tables, $13,050 in cash proceeds as well as more money in a bank account which were connected to the illegal operation. Previously, Thatcher faced other felony charges and one misdemeanor. However, those charges were dropped.
The MGCB Remains Vigilant
Dana Nessel, Michigan’s Attorney General, said that her office remains committed to ensuring compliance with the gambling regulations in the state. Finally, she said: “I appreciate the work the Michigan Gaming Control Board has done to protect Michigan residents and businesses.”
“Unregulated gambling operations do not offer Michigan residents the same protections provided through legal, regulated gambling.“
Henry Williams, executive director at the Michigan Gaming Control Board
Henry Williams, MGCB’s executive director, added that illegal gambling operations lack the consumer protection protocols that licensed operators offer. In conclusion, Williams explained that the regulator remains committed to enforcing the regulations and if necessary, partnering with the Department of Attorney General to terminate illegal gambling operations in Michigan.
Earlier this week, the gambling regulator revealed that online betting and casino operations receipts in the state hit nearly $2 billion in 2022. The result marked a strong 41% increase when compared to the same period the prior year.