MARQUETTE, Mich. – A professional poker player has been sentenced for running an illegal gambling operation in Michigan.
Officials said on April 1, 2021, Joshua Thatcher, 42, of Gwinn, Michigan, opened the 906 Poker Social club on South Front Street in Marquette.
Thatcher started the private membership club to allow members to play live poker and other games against each other. He charged a weekly, monthly, or yearly membership fee and a chair rental fee of $10 per hour.
“Unregulated gambling operations do not offer Michigan residents the same protections provided through legal, regulated gambling,” said Henry Williams, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
The club closed July 8, 2021, after a joint investigation by the Michigan Attorney General and Michigan Gaming Control Board.
Thatcher pleaded guilty Dec. 2 to one count of felony gambling operations and was sentenced Jan. 19 to 12 months of probation. He was ordered to forfeit six poker tables, $13,050 in cash, and other money connected to the case.
Thatcher was originally charged in May 2022 with five felonies, including two counts of using computers to commit a crime, as well as a high misdemeanor count of permitting a gambling house for gain. Those counts were later dismissed.
The Michigan Department of Attorney General prosecuted the case.