Friday, December 29, 2006 - Burning it up at both ends - Burning it up at both ends:
"HIDDEN TREASURES, Mendenhall Mall: Inconspicuous, with just a small sign facing the parking lot, Hidden Treasures is almost truly hidden in the south side of the mall by Super Bear Supermarket.
But with three customers at 5 p.m. Tuesday, and the barbs flying across the dealer pit, the action was furious.
'It's a world unto itself,' said Donnie Wells, in his ninth year of dealing. 'It's the most fun I've ever had at a job. 'People don't understand that there's a social aspect to this. Everybody knows each other. It's a friendly thing. It's just like a bar, but I don't have to put up with drunks in here.'
Hidden Treasures raises money for Juneau Dance Unlimited, the Juneau Montessori School and Southeast Alaska Friends of Montessori. Wells also distributes cards to Henry's and the Imperial Saloon. Henry's, a hotbed for pulltabs, carries almost 27 games.
'It's not like we sit here and take people's money,' Wells said. 'You have to find that balance between taking money for the charity and making sure players are staying in the game. It's all about playbacks. You have fun, and that's what you're supposed to do. You have a game that doesn't have any playbacks, and nobody plays. We can't sell those.'
Juneau charges a 5 percent sales tax on charitable gaming, and it's the only large municipality in Alaska to charge such a tax. If someone wins $2 on a card, the shop pays a dime of that to the city.
'The city and borough is making almost as much in here as the charity groups, and that's the truth,' Wells said. 'It's a tough market to make it. We barely made it last year. You give 30 percent to the nonprofit, then you've got your taxes, and your cost for space in the mall, wages and for buying th" - Burning it up at both ends - Burning it up at both ends: "
Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire

PULL TAB PALACE, Nugget Mall, suite 24: Don't be fooled by the richness of the name. The 'Palace' is actually a no-frills, white-walled, nook across the hall from Susan's Hallmark and around the corner from Lucky Louie's.
'A lot of the people that play (at Louie's), if they win, they go (to the Palace) and play,' Horton said. 'Or they come from next door, and play over here. It's all pretty friendly. It's not real competitive between here and there. They have their regular customers, and we have ours.'
'There's three types of people that come in,' Palace dealer Eli Soriano said. 'Some people have money, and they can spend it. Some people are addicted. And some people are playing for fun and they can control themselves.
'The people who think it's fun are people who come back routinely,' he said. 'They'll come back every other day and spend $20 on a certain game.'
The Palace, like its counterpart parlor inside the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall on West Willoughby Avenue, raises money for the ANB Grand Camp 2 scholarship program.
And like Lucky Louie's, Criss Cross is the popular game.
'People like those games because they're smaller,' Soriano said. 'There's fewer tickets and a higher percentage. It's a one-jar game. The whole game fits in one jar. People like that, or they like to play the big games, the ones with $400s and $500s. It's a matter of preference.'
Soriano has been at the Palace for about 18 months.
'People go to different shops for different dealers,' Soriano said. 'Some people will ask you information, like 'Are there any winners that came out of here.' That's cheating. I just want to deal the tab" - Burning it up at both ends - Burning it up at both ends:
"LUCKY LOUIE'S, Nugget Mall, suite 26: With hanging plants and dollar signs ringing the wooden counter, Louie's ambiance can be overwhelming at first.
But then there's Jerry Horton, a pulltab dealer since 1989.
'I tell people, 'Just play the game that says 'Buy me,'' Horton said.
All pulltab parlors are limited to those 21 and over and sell nothing more potent than Mountain Dew. The most you can win on one ticket is $500.
Though the chance to win big pulls people in, it's often the dealer and those smaller payoffs that keep people coming back.
'You want people to have a good time when they're spending their money,' Horton said. ' You should play the game because it's fun. It's gambling, that's what you have to realize when you walk in here. You can't just walk in and expect to win every time you play, because that doesn't happen.'
Louie's raises money for six different organizations, including SEADOGS (Southeast Alaska Dogs Organized for Ground Search), Juneau Mountain Club and Juneau Wrestling.
Parlors pay 30 percent of their gross profits to nonprofit organizations. The total amount varies each year, depending on sales.
'There are a lot of charities that want their permits run, but there's not enough shops to run them,' Horton said. 'The ones that we have, we've had for a long time, several years at least.'
Criss Cross, a $1 card, is one of the most popular games in Juneau. The current version at Lucky's has 2,219 tickets, with four cards paying $100, four paying $75, four paying $50, 12 paying $20, 60 paying $5 and 200 paying $2.
'Even though it doesn't pay out a lot, you get a lot of playbacks from that game,' Horton said. 'People like wi" - Burning it up at both ends - Burning it up at both ends: "As some pulltab parlors struggle, others keep customers wanting more


Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire
A special world: Donnie Wells, at Hidden Treasures, has been a pulltab dealer for nine years. 'It's a world unto itself,' he said. 'It's the most fun I've ever had at a job.'

It's the day after Christmas, and Nugget Mall is crowded with the bargain-shoppers and those with sweaters one size too large.

Refund money is thick in the air, and for some, disposable cash offers the chance to win more.
'A chance to win big,' said Eliza Salazar, 46, who was at the mall with her family.
Yes, it's time to play pulltabs at the mall.
We've all seen the parlors around town and in the bars. It's like playing paper slots - just peel open the tabs on the back of the card and see if your oranges, or cherries or assorted shapes match.
Gambling is mostly illegal under Alaska law. But pulltabs, bingo, raffles and contests of skill are allowed as 'charitable gaming activities.'
Tlingit and Haida, for instance, has paid for its hall, supported drug and alcohol education programs and funded other charitable activities with pulltab sales.
The local industry has taken a hit in the last year. Tab Time, outside the Nugget Mall near ACS, has closed. So has the old 'Hole-in-the-Wall' parlor on Front Street.
In recent years, Juneau pulltab operators have also wrestled with the city over outstanding sales tax issues. The Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp 2, in fact, currently owes $83,732.19. Want to help? If you've got $20 to burn, you can.
Here's what Hooligan learned (and lost) at several parlors:"

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Small games of chance deserve an airing

Small games of chance deserve an airing:
"Service clubs, fire compa nies and churches that op erate small games of chance are making increasing noise about changing state regulations to expand their offerings and increase payouts to winners.
We need to hear more, but with the state having opened the barn door to casinos with slots, these groups at least deserve a full airing of their proposals and concerns by lawmakers.
Existing state law allows counties to issue licenses for such small games of chance as punch cards, pull tabs and drawings. Separate licenses also are issued for bingo. "

Online Casino Reports - Cruise Casinos in Florida

Online Casino Reports - Cruise Casinos in Florida:
"At the same time, Florida has several Native Indian reserves where land based casinos operate. Their status is still pending a decision regarding their legality. The Seminole tribe has four land based casinos and the Miccosukee reservation has one. The state's objection to these operations was challenged by the Seminole tribe. It is now pending a decision by the Secretary of the Interior’s office. Meanwhile, these land based casino offer high-stakes bingo, video pull tabs, and poker games. The tribes operate the land based casinos around the clock, 24 hours a day. The minimum gambling age is 18."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bills to legalize video gambling, expand slots at tracks introduced | The Star Press - - Muncie, IN

Bills to legalize video gambling, expand slots at tracks introduced The Star Press - - Muncie, IN:
"Indiana's riverboat casinos also are making sizable investments, adding hotel rooms and renovating casinos.
State horse-racing interests also will be back at the Legislature wanting slot machines and pull tabs, although Gov. Mitch Daniels indicated Thursday that he would not support any expansion of gambling.
Brad Klopfenstein, executive director of the Indiana Licensed Beverage Association, said legalizing video gaming would not constitute an expansion of gambling, given that many Hoosier bars, clubs and even retailers already have them.
'They largely go unchecked,' said Klopfenstein, although state excise has been cracking down, recently arresting Yorktown man John Neal on video gambling-related charges." | Alaska's news and information source | Mall employee recovering from hostage crisis at Northway Mall Alaska's news and information source Mall employee recovering from hostage crisis at Northway Mall
"Anchorage, Alaska - A SWAT team stun grenade brought a hostage stand-off at the Northway Mall to a dramatic end this afternoon.
Tonight, a 19-year-old girl is recovering from the terrifying ordeal and 44-year-old Mark Talbert, who police say held her captive at knifepoint, is behind bars. Earlier today, the Northway Mall was filled with holiday shoppers who got a very close and personal view of a police take-down as it happened just 30 yards away.
'Nobody knew what was going on. All I know is that they were saying there was somebody with a knife holding somebody hostage,' said Kathleen Turner, who works at Lynn's Pull Tabs."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

DVD Review for Christmas in the Clouds (2005)

Christmas in the Clouds was first featured at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. This film is light hearted comedy built in the tradition of Native American storytelling. The film had a limited release at the theatres, so I did get a chance to see it. After seeing the DVD rental, I definitely will add this to my collection.

Ray Clouds on Fire (Tim Vahle) comes back to his Tribe’s reservation after personal struggles off the reservation. He is hired as the General Manager of the Tribe’s ski resort. Joe (Sam Vlahos) is Ray’s father who is exchanging letters with his pen pal Tina (Mariana Tosca) from New York. When Tina comes for a visit at the same time as a well known travel guide (M. Emmet Walsh) a case of mistaken identity develops into hilarious scenarios.

Ray tries to rally the troops to put on a good show for the travel guide so the resort can get a great review write-up. That’s when the laughs start. But there is a relationship brewing on the horizon. And some tender moments are ahead. Not to be too serious though, funny characters are introduced throughout the film. Earl the vegetarian chef (Graham Greene) and Mary (Sheila Tousey) make a noticeable standout.

Robert Redford’s Sundance ranch is the beautiful backdrop for this film. The film captures the resort brilliantly and character is built smoothly. There are many Native American supporting actors that blend well in this film; Wes Studi (Himself), Shirley Cheechoo and Warrior Mouse. I have to make a special note for Inuit singer Karina Moeller of Pamyua who makes a special appearance that might make you shed a tear or more.

This is great family holiday movie. It is not just a Native American movie but a movie that everyone can relate to. The one thing that could have been developed better is the time lapses. But I still would like to see more films from writer/director Kate Montgomery. The DVD contains the Trailer, Reviews and Rewards and Photo Gallery.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

HeraldNet: Lake Stevens tackles gambling tax

HeraldNet: Lake Stevens tackles gambling tax:
"The city wants to impose the gambling tax before it annexes the Frontier Village area - including the Highway 9 Casino - on Dec. 20.
If passed, the tax could bring in as much as $139,000 each year to help provide police services at gambling businesses, Police Chief Randy Celori said.
The gambling tax proposal, first presented in October, sparked an outcry from some businesses saying a tax could force them out of business.
Since then, the city has floated a number of proposals, all less than Snohomish County's current tax - 5 percent on pull tabs and 10 percent on card tables' gross earnings."

The Trades - Book Review: Santa Claus

The Trades - Book Review: Santa Claus:
"Santa Claus is one of those new breed of interactive books -- not really pop-up, but filled with pull-tabs, fold outs, tiny booklets within a book, and sealed envelopes of surprises.

Santa Claus is not a story, but an Encyclopedia Phantasmagorica, going into tremendous detail about the North Pole, the way the elves grow food, how the mail room operates, the make-up of Santa's magical suit, and all the technical specifications about the sled: length, power, and all the tricked out special equipment like the altitude regulator, bubble timer, and enchanted cargo hold.

Of course, there's more prosaic information as well that you could research out of a regular reference book -- like the origins of the Christmas tree, a little about the different animals that live at the North Pole, the background on St. Nicholas of Myra, and actual sightings of Santa, like this one: "
"Powerball accounted for about $21.9 million of the overall sales, while instant tickets were the biggest seller, totaling $37.4 million. Pull-tabs brought in $7 million, and Hot Lotto totaled $4.4 million.

'People like our products,' Stanek said after Friday's meeting of the Iowa Lottery Board.

One factor behind the sales increase is that lottery players are buying more higher-priced instant games, such as $2, $5 and $10 tickets for lottery bingo and crossword puzzle games, Stanek said.

'Based upon our market research, we have determined that players were willing to spend more money, provided that they had some value added,' he said. 'We have added value by including additional ways to win, higher payback percentages, better odds, and making the games more fun.'" | front : Critics would snuff out smoke ban front : Critics would snuff out smoke ban:

"Jack Powers of Tudor Road Bingo Center Casino said he personally donated $2,500 because he thinks 35 percent of his customers will quit coming if the ban stays. Powers says bingo operators will really lose out because, instead of buying pull tabs during the bingo games' intermission, smokers will be going outside to have two or three cigarettes.
'It's happened in a couple of other states,' Powers said. 'Their pull tabs are going to go right down the toilet.'"