LANSING, MI – An Ohio woman faces multiple felony and misdemeanor charges for allegedly conducting unlicensed gambling operations between July and November 2018 in Flint Township and Kentwood following a joint investigation by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office, the Michigan Gaming Control Board and police departments in Flint Township and Kentwood.
Evelyn Deitz-Smith, 52-years-old, of Sidney, Ohio, was arraigned January 15th, 2020, in Lansing 54A District Court by Judge Stacia J. Buchanan on two felony counts of running a gambling operation without a license, two felony counts of using computers to commit a crime and two misdemeanor counts of keeping a gambling house. The alleged activities occurred at Evelyn’s Arcade, 1493 Linden Road, Flint Township, and Big Winners Skill Café, 5246 Eastern Ave. S.E., Kentwood. Both locations closed in late November 2018.
“Illegal gambling operations can lead to other serious crimes,” said Richard S. Kalm, MGCB executive director. “In general, people are cheated, and the money earned by these facilities funds organized crime. We urge Michigan citizens to report suspected illegal gambling to local authorities or to our agency.”
The locations were investigated beginning in July 2018 after authorities received allegations of illegal gambling there. Both sites claimed to offer patrons “skill-based games” under Michigan’s redemption statute, but investigators determined the games did not comply with the statute and were instead games of chance.
“Law enforcement is often a team effort, and I’m proud of the collaborative work done by our partners at the Michigan Gaming Control Board and local police departments in Flint Township and Kentwood,” Nessel said. “When bad actors violate the law, it is our duty to hold them accountable – it’s as simple as that.”
Two of the felony charges allege Deitz-Smith conducted a gambling operation where wagering was used without an MGCB-issued license. These charges each carry a penalty of 10 years and/or a $100,000 fine and bar anyone convicted from receiving or maintaining a gaming license. The other two felony charges of using a computer to commit a crime call for a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and/or a $10,000 fine. The misdemeanor charges each carry a one-year sentence or a $1,000 fine.
Deitz-Smith was released on $7,000 personal bond. Her case is scheduled for a preliminary exam at 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 27, 2020 in 54A District Court in Lansing
Michigan residents are urged to report illegal or suspicious gambling activity by calling the MGCB’s anonymous tip line, 888-314-2682.