Two Minnesota casinos are at the center of the first case to involve suspects livestreaming casino slot play via TikTok for illegal financial reward. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Agency blows the whistle
Minnesota’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division (AGED) believes it has blown the whistle on the first crime involving suspects livestreaming casino slot play for an illegal financial reward.
Late last week the state agency accused a 39-year-old Edina man and his brother of running an illegal TikTok gambling scheme at casinos in the Twin Cities area.
the brothers collected fees to play slot machines for TikTok users
According to the Star Tribune, court filings show AGED is undertaking an ongoing investigation into allegations that the brothers collected fees to play slot machines for TikTok users. In the search warrant affidavit, DAGE said one brother used cash apps to allow him to charge bettors an initial $5.99 subscription fee and “$25 that he keeps for every $100 deposited for wagering.”
An AGED agent disclosed in a court filing that the brothers livestreamed themselves using TikTok’s video sharing function while playing slots at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake and the Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Welch.
Placing bets on behalf of someone else violates state law.
New crime on the block
The Star Tribune says the filing and archived videos reveal one of the men’s TikTok accounts had 165,000 followers and that the illegal operation was running for “the past three months” in at least one of the casinos.
wads of cash … and slot machines rolling up occasional big jackpots”
While the affidavit doesn’t reveal the total amount of money lost and won via the illegal livestream gambling, video highlights from one brother’s page made it seem lucrative. Archives of the man’s TikTok page, the affidavit states, “show wads of cash … and slot machines rolling up occasional big jackpots, including one last month that topped $15,000.”
AGED spokeswoman Nicole Roddy said the agency had never encountered a case like the TikTok scheme before. The American Gaming Association (AGA) also said it had never heard of a gambling scheme like it, nor does it approve. AGA vice president for government relations Alex Costello, stated that “actions like this violate casinos’ … anti-money-laundering protocols and are a threat to our financial system.”
Eric Pehle, spokesman for the Prairie Island Indian Community and its Treasure Island casino, said the scheme was “a new one on me.”
Pehle said the Prairie Island Gaming Commission was onto the TikTok suspect when it started getting tips about his actions on January 6. The commission banned him from Treasure Island on January 9, the same day the state got a tip from Las Vegas that the pair were livestreaming “from casinos over various TikTok accounts and collecting money from followers to be played in slot machines.”
Treasure Island also kicked the man out of its casino on January 12. “While allowing social media influencers to broadcast from inside our property is allowed, placing bets for others is not,” said Clayton Tix, the commission’s executive director.
Mystic Lake casino’s owner, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Gaming Enterprise, said in a statement that it allows livestreaming provided its “limited to the guest and their own party.”
The state has not yet charged either man with a crime.