Twin Cities man sentenced for illegally playing casino slots for bettors who watched live on TikTok

Twin Cities man sentenced for illegally playing casino slots for bettors who watched live on TikTok
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A Twin Cities man has been sentenced in one of two cases that alleged he roamed two Minnesota casinos and played slots for gamblers who paid to have their bets placed, then watched live on TikTok in hopes of striking it rich.

Blake C. Fitzgerald, 40, of Farmington, pleaded guilty in Scott County District Court to a gross misdemeanor charge of running a remote bookie business for at least four months until January 2023 while at Mystic Lake Casino in the Scott County city of Prior Lake or Treasure Island Resort & Casino just outside of Red Wing in Goodhue County.

Fitzgerald was sentenced to two years' probation and fined $488. The terms of his probation include that he complete a gambling assessment and not commit similar gambling-related crimes. Should he abide by the the terms for the two years, the conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor.

On Wednesday, Fitzgerald appeared in Goodhue County District Court on a felony charge of instructing others to violate gambling laws along with three related gross misdemeanor counts. A felony conviction could send Fitzgerald to prison, rather than to jail or some other lesser form of detention. He has a hearing scheduled there on March 13.

Fitzgerald's brother, 34-year-old Christopher J.L. Mattison, pleaded guilty earlier in Scott County for his role in the gambling enterprise. He was put on probation for a year and fined $250. If he has no probation violations, the gross misdemeanor case will be dismissed. Similar charges against him in Goodhue County have him back in court on March 13.

According to the state's investigation of the brothers:

The brothers arranged bets for 81 people in a three-week period that totaled more than $48,000. Bettors received back about a third of their money, either in winnings or refunds if the brothers ran out of time to get the wagers down.

Fitzgerald collected through cash apps an initial $5.99 subscription fee and then $25 that he kept for every $100 deposited for wagering, which he streamed live on TikTok. Archived videos on his main TikTok account revealed 165,000 followers from around the world. Video highlights showed wads of cash and slot machines rolling up occasional big jackpots, including one that topped $15,000.

Administrators at both casinos eventually caught on to Fitzgerald's TikTok bookie business. On Jan. 12, 2023, he livestreamed about being kicked out of Mystic Lake during a previous visit. That same day, he was in his car outside Treasure Island and said he had just been given a permanent trespass notice.