Michigan residents will soon be unable to play on Chumba Casino and other Virtual Gaming Worlds (VGW) sweepstakes sites. Chumba players in Michigan have until Feb. 1, 2024, to claim prizes using any Sweeps Coins they have won; the same applies to players on other VGW sites.
VGW’s sites use the “sweepstakes social casino” model. While technically qualifying as social casino sites (i.e., not real money casinos), Chumba and the others reward purchases of play money chips with free Sweeps Coins. Playing with these allows players the chance to win more, which can, in turn, be redeemed for cash prizes.
VGW’s official statement on its withdrawal reads:
VGW continually evaluates their business operations in the interests of all their stakeholders and after careful consideration they have decided to take this course of action.
Sweepstakes social casinos present a safer, legal alternative to offshore gambling in states where real money gaming is illegal. Fortunately, Michigan is among the few states with regulated real money casinos. So, Michigan players finding themselves shut out from VGW’s products won’t be without other good options.
Aside from Chumba, affected sites include:
Michigan is joining Idaho and Washington as the only other two states where VGW products are unavailable. All three sites remain available in the other 47 states and the District of Columbia.
When Will Chumba & Other VGW Sites Shut Down?
VGW hasn’t shut off the lights for its sites in Michigan quite yet. It will be winding down operations in phases.
The good news is that players’ Sweeps Coins are safe, provided they use them within the next few months.
Here’s the timeline for the VGW Michigan shutdown:
- Nov. 1, 2023—Purchases disabled: Starting in November, Michigan residents will no longer be able to make any purchases of Gold Coins. Note that this is the main way of obtaining Sweeps Coins, so after November 1, players will only be able to get more through mail-ins or, potentially, promotions.
- Dec. 1, 2023—Play & Mail-Ins disabled: Starting in December, Michigan residents will no longer be able to play on the site, whether for Gold Coins or Sweeps Coins. At the same time, VGW will stop accepting mail-ins for “no purchase necessary” Sweeps Coins.
- Feb 1, 2024—Sweeps Coin redemption deadline: The VGW sites will shut down for Michigan residents, making it impossible to redeem Sweeps Coins for cash prizes after February 1.
Don’t Forget to Redeem Your Sweeps
For most players, the December 1 and February 1 deadlines are the critical ones.
Obviously, it is essential that you redeem any Sweeps Coins you have available before February 1 if you don’t want to miss out on cash you could have won.
However, it’s also important to remember that free Sweeps Coins obtained through Gold Coin purchases can’t be redeemed immediately. The only Sweeps Coins you can redeem are the ones you won while playing games.
That means if you’ve bought some Gold Coins and received Sweeps Coins but haven’t played with them, you will need to use them before December. Anything you win with them could then be redeemed, but if you have any Sweeps Coins you haven’t yet played with come December 1, they will become useless.
Michigan’s Shifting Gambling Landscape
Michigan has been clamping down hard on various products it doesn’t explicitly license. The Michigan Gaming Control Board has conducted a series of raids on brick-and-mortar unregulated gambling establishments, most recently in Bridgeport Township. Meanwhile, on Oct. 11, the MGCG and lawmakers modified the state’s administrative rules for fantasy contests to ban pick’em style daily fantasy products.
The common theme in all this is that the MGCB is trying hard to eliminate unregulated competition to the state’s licensed gambling operators.