Friday, December 29, 2006 - 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:"
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