EFA Legislative Alert, March 29, 2006
Dear Eagles and Friends:
Here are some of the interesting points made in hearing on HB272, Poker room bill, today.
If passed this bill would allow poker rooms in ANY town of ANY size in Alaska. The bill leaves a number of areas wide open. For instance, there is no mention of how the operator would charge, so the ways are limited only by someone's imaginations and any regulations that might or might not be put in place. Other states, such as Washington, require closed circuit TV monitoring of activity to cut down on cheating and theft, two problems rampant in the gambling industry. HB272 does not make that requirement. There is no limit to the number of card tables an establishment could have in one location. There are no minimum or maximum wager limits. There is no mention of how a rake or a shill would be handled or regulated. These cardrooms could be operated in bars with alcoholic beverages and there is no restriction to other types of gaming that could occur in the same establishment. You could have bingo, pull tabs, and poker all in one room.
Gambling proponent, Perry Green, testified in favor of the bill. One of his more interesting arguments in favor of poker rooms is that young people are doing more and more gambling on the internet and all of that money is leaving the state and going overseas. He wants our young people's money to stay in Alaska, just not in their pockets.
There was very moving testimony by a lady from Nenana. She testified that her mother had lost everything she had to gambling. Her home, her friends, her job, her savings and her good name were all lost. Her mother is now recovering from her gambling addiction and sent word through her daughter to urge the committee not to pass HB272.
One lady in favor of the bill testified immediately after the woman from Nenana. She felt bad about the damage that gambling addiction caused these people. "But", she said, "Just because some people have addictions shouldn't mean we can't have fun."
Mention was made that we can set up gambler's anonymous chapters in Alaska. We will need that and a lot more if we are so foolish as to allow this bad idea to become a reality in Alaska.
Increased gambling hurts families and it hurts our children. It was also mentioned today that those who begin gambling at an early age are more likely to end up as addicts.
Everyone in Alaska who cares about this issue should make sure their Senatorplans to vote NO on HB272!
Working for the family,
President, Eagle Forum Alaska
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