EAGLE FORUM ALASKA TEMPLATE Eagle Forum Alaska: Gambling Hearing March 23rd

Monday, March 20, 2006

Gambling Hearing March 23rd

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on HB 272 which would legalize commercial gambling in the state in the form of card rooms. The hearing is set for 8:30am on Thursday March 23rd. Please visit your Local Information Office (LIO) and testify against this bill, especially if you have been adversely affected by gambling and know the addictive effects of card room gambling. Your nearest LIO can be found at http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/legaff/liolist.htm.

From the 2004 Dept. of Revenue Annual Report of Gaming Group Operations:

"Gaming in Alaska is big business. In calendar year 2004, the total amount gamed by the public exceeded $355,000,000.00 [that's 355 MILLION DOLLARS!]. After prizes were paid out, approximately $84,000,000 was available for gaming expenses and net proceed to benefit municipalities and qualified organizations.

In general, gambling is illegal in Alaska. However, the legislature created an exception for what is commonly, though somewhat inaccurately, referred to as "Charitable Gaming". The use of the word "charity" is really a misnomer. An organization does not have to have any charitable purpose in order to have a gaming permit. The Department may only issue a permit to a municipality or qualified organization and charities represent only on of the fifteen kinds of "qualified organizations" eligible to game in Alaska."

The types of activities referred to as "gaming" are:

  • Pull Tabs - 76.8% of the gaming, taking in $262 million in 2004
  • Bingo - 19.6% of the gaming, taking in $67 million in 2004
  • Raffles - 2.8% of the gaming, taking in $9.5 million in 2004
  • Others (derbies, betting on ice, rain, salmon, dog mushing, etc) - .7% of gaming, taking in $2.5 million in 2004

Gambling is an addictive behavior with similar effects on the brain of alcohol and other drugs. It robs money from families who typically do not have much to begin with. Gambling contributes to erosion of the family, often leading to domestic violence toward women and children, increased poverty and child neglect.

The Republican Party Platform contains a plank with reads:

F. We believe any expansion of gaming in Alaska is detrimental to our families and society. "
This plank was added at the 2004 State Convention with an overwhelming majority vote of the delegates. The Republican State Central Committee passed a resolution in September 2005 to remind Republican legislators of this plank and to urge them to uphold the Republican Party platform. Therefore, no Republican legislator should be sponsoring or voting in favor of such legislation.

Please write to the Senate Judiciary Committee and urge them to VOTE NO on HB 272 when the bill is heard on March 23.

Senate Judiciary members:

Senator Ralph Seekins, Chair (Republican)

Senator Charles Huggins (Republican)

Senator Gene Therriault (Republican)

Senator Gretchen Guess

Senator Hollis French

To access the Dept. of Revenue Annual Report on Gaming, go to www.tax.state.ak.us


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