Sports fans across the state of Michigan are excited that they can now gamble online and in Detroit casinos legally. With the new law in place, the old school “bookie” is facing extinction but make no mistake about it, they still exist. How the new legislation will affect the illegal gaming industry remains to be seen. To discuss this matter in detail, we spoke with several criminal defense lawyers that are at the top of their field in the state of Michigan.
Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has created a criminal defense team that has become the best throughout the state of Michigan. When asked about the impact of this legislation, Grabel stated, “Much like the marijuana industry, prosecutions are on the rise. The illegal bookmaker will not go out of business and will have to find various ways to continue their operations. The problem for this individual is now they are competing with the state, and the prosecution will be based heavily upon economics, but to say they will not exist is not true.”
William Amadeo is a partner at McManus and Amadeo in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a Senior Associate with Grabel and Associates. Known as one of the hardest working attorneys in the state of Michigan, Amadeo added commentary when he said, “Illegal gambling is always going to occur, and we see in more frequently in poorer neighborhoods. A bookie that is taking bets on games or running numbers will always be in existence, but prosecutors, especially in Wayne County, will be on the lookout for them. The bookmaker is now in competition with Detroit casinos, and that is going to provide the incentive to prosecute in Detroit.”
Ravi Gurumurthy is an associate at Grabel and Associates and is known as one of the best criminal defense lawyers in the northern part of Michigan. When asked about the legalization of sports gambling, Gurumurthy said, “Since the legislation of marijuana in Michigan, we see many more cannabis-related prosecutions. People are selling marijuana without a license, and prosecutors have incentives because this hurts our state’s ability to tax. The legalization of sports gambling will have the same effect on criminal defendants. A bookie that has been in existence for 20 years may not be the subject of a media-related prosecution. It will be our job as criminal defense lawyers to protect our client both in court and at the criminal evaluation stage.”
While the new law on sports gambling presents new opportunities to generate income and create jobs in our state, there is the potential for a tremendous amount of criminal prosecutions to take place. What looks like an expansion of the public’s rights could lead to many new layers of criminal prosecution.