Detroit Casinos, Gaming Control Board Come Under Fire

According to Michigan’s Auditor General, 3 Detroit casinos employ more than 200 people who are not licensed in a way that complies with state regulations. Though the audit itself took place from October of 2013 until May of 2015, the report was published on the 28th of December. In the report were a number of findings, most of which the Michigan Gaming Control Board disagrees with wholeheartedly.

To provide a bit of background, the casino industry in Detroit accounts for more than $1.3 billion in revenue annually and, as you might expect, that translates into a lot of tax dollars for the state. Reports like these are such a big deal because they can go a long way in determining whether Michigan, as a state, will be moving to widen the scope of legal gambling, or if they should tighten the reins and reevaluate the industry.

State Regulation Almost Wholly Sufficient

If we have one major takeaway from the report, it is that the state of Michigan is, in fact, doing a great job at regulating the casinos in Detroit. Despite this, there were 3 findings which raised some concern not only for the Auditor General, but for the Gaming Control Board and the casinos themselves. These three findings include:

-9% of the employee workforce at 2 of Detroit’s casinos are in need of higher-level licenses

-Michigan’s Gaming Control Board needs to have their internal controls brought up to date to ensure the regulation of computerized gaming technology, such as video poker and slot machines

-Michigan’s Gaming Control Board need to follow through with required quarterly inspections, of which in upwards of 15% were missed

Though the Gaming Control Board did admit fault with regard to the third and final finding, they are very much in disagreement with the first 2. According to the Gaming Control Board, individual casinos need to take responsibility, internally, for regulating and monitoring computerized gaming activity and the devices that facilitate it.

Ongoing Licensing Dispute

The first of the three findings was the biggest point of contention from the audit. The auditor’s report indicated that Detroit casinos are far too lax with regard to who is working in more elevated positions; those of authority.
As it stands, the Michigan Gaming Control Board issues 3 different types of licenses to casino employees whose direct job responsibility involves working on the casino floor, whether as a dealer, pit boss, or any other position. The three tiers include a criminal background check, a check on the existence of delinquent taxes, and reviews of each individual’s personal financial situation. For those who are taking a supervisory role, other financial information is needed to be supplied for review.

According to the audit, nearly 215 employees did not make it through all three tiers. The report went on to state that all 3 tiers are needed because “they held supervisory positions within the gambling operation as table game supervisors, table game assistant supervisors, table game team leaders or poker room supervisors.”
The Gaming Control Board disagreed with this finding even though one of Detroit’s three casinos did undergo a sweeping, complete licensure of all their employees. According to the Board, this was done at the discretion of the casino, not because they were forced or felt it to be legally required.

It will be interesting to see where this unfolds, and if the names of the casinos in question will be divulged. At this point, the names of the casinos are being withheld. Though these are mere recommendations at the present moment in time, failure to act may result in the Michigan Gaming Control Board being forced to suspend gambling activities until all casinos are compliant with state regulations.