Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Pull-tab profits may be yanked

A dispute between a local pull-tab operator and a property owner could end up costing a handful of Fairbanks nonprofit, labor and service organizations tens of thousands of dollars in potential revenue.
Emerald Isle Pull-Tabs, which up until last summer operated pull-tab games at a location on the Old Steese Highway for at least five Fairbanks organizations including the Alaska Dog Mushers Association, the UAF Tip Off Club and the Tanana Valley State Fair Association, is involved in a rent dispute with the owner of the Old Steese building, Qwik Three Inc.
Last summer, officials from Qwik Three locked the building, taking possession of all the contents, including the pull-tabs.
Pull-tabs are one of the few forms of gambling allowed in Alaska. State law mandates strict regulations surrounding the games. The pull-tabs themselves are the property of nonprofit organizations. Pull-tab parlors, like Emerald Isle, operate the games on behalf of the nonprofits. The two then split the profits from the games.
With the pull-tabs locked up, however, there haven’t been any profits from them for more than six months. The Alaska Outdoor Council, for example, would have received about $20,000 from its pull-tabs in Emerald Isle’s parlor during that time.
“It’s certainly cutting into our fundraising,” said Rod Arno, the nonprofit council’s executive director. “Actually a fair amount.”
Arno said in any given year the Outdoor Council can pull in $50,000 from pull-tab games at various parlors.
“It’s easily a fourth to a third of our funding,” he said.
Alaska Outdoor Council is one of 11 Fairbanks nonprofits involved in a lawsuit against Qwik Three Inc., in an attempt to get their pull-tabs back. All of the 11 nonprofits use Emerald Isle to coordinate their games, but not all of them had pull-tabs at the Old Steese Location, a fact that is complicating the suit, which Arno described as “a slow-moving mess.” Emerald Isle has three other locations besides the Old Steese parlor. All 11 nonprofits were included in the suit because there was some question in the mind of officials at Qwik Three as to which Emerald Isle clients had games at the Old Steese location.
Other organizations didn’t have quite so much money tied up in Emerald Isle’s operation but are still looking at a loss of revenue. According to documents filed in court, the Laborer’s Local 942 usually earns several thousand dollars each month from its pull-tab games. The money from the games is largely used for the union’s scholarship fund.
The Alaska Dog Mushers Association had $13,799 worth of pull-tabs in the parlor.
“That’s 10 percent of our budget,” club president Shannon Erhart said. “It could have helped us with our racing season.”
Hollis Hall, the acting general manager of the Tanana Valley State Fair Association, said his organization is out about $2,000 because of the dispute.
David Lambert, the owner of Emerald Isle, stated in an affidavit that there was $115,399 worth of pull-tabs in the building when it was locked.
With the nonprofits already facing tight budgets, the dip in revenue is hurting some services.
“We use that money for education,” Arno said. “We use that money to inform our membership, which is about 12,000 statewide, of state and federal (outdoors) regulations.”
The Alaska Outdoor Council usually publishes four newsletters each year, Arno said. This year, because the pull-tabs weren’t sold, the group will only have enough money to put out three.
The Interior Horse Council, member Leigh Carlson said, uses the revenues from its pull-tab game to build facilities at the Tanana Valley Fair Ground and for educational programs. The group is trying to find ways to work around the funding hiccup caused by the pull-tab dispute.
“We still have revenue; we’re doing other fund raisers, we’re still trying to continue on,” she said. “Luckily, we didn’t have that much tied up to (the pull-tabs).”
Jason Crawford, the attorney representing Qwik Three, said the parties are close to working out a way to distribute the games back to the nonprofits.
“One of the main things is we want them to get back to the rightful holder, the permit holders,” Crawford said.
Qwik Three recently got a list of the permit numbers associated with the various games in their possession, Crawford said, and was checking those numbers against the games they have so they can get the right games to the right nonprofits.
Even if the pull-tabs are returned to the nonprofits, the groups may not be able to make any money off of them. Pull-tabs are usually dated, and the older the pull-tabs, the harder to sell them, Erhart said. There are also rumors that some of the pull-tabs may have been stolen since the building was closed. A police report from last August said someone broke into the building and took an Automatic Teller Machine and possibly some pull-tabs as well.
“There’s a whole room full of pull-tabs, so it’s hard to know if a few of them might be missing,” Crawford said.
It’s going to be difficult for anyone who might have stolen pull-tabs to cash them out, but even so, Erhart said, no one is going to want to buy any of the remaining pull-tabs.
“They’re basically tainted at this point,” she said.
As far as Arno is concerned, he just wants to get his games back, even though he’s pretty sure he won’t be able to use them to raise any funds for his organization.
“The quicker the settlement on it the better,” he said, “so we can consider our loses and we can try again.”
Contact staff writer Robinson Duffy at 459-7523 or rduffy@newsminer.com.

Business Spotlight: Tapped Out and Tipped Out in Kitsap

Laws more clearly divided taverns and restaurants so they did not directly compete with each other. Patterson remembers the days when a bar served beer and a restaurant made its money on mixed hard liquor drinks. A bar served boiled eggs, pickled eggs, peanuts and pretzels and to be a restaurant you had to offer five different entrees throughout the day.
In the past 10 years, though, bars have applied for more on-site beer, wine and liquor licenses to compete with restaurants — in part for higher profits, in part to attract a different crowd.
But paying the additional taxes for restaurant-classified liquor licenses, as well as permits for pool tables, shuffleboards, and fees to the recording industry for jukebox songs, has pushed small bars to their limits, Patterson said.
"If you’re a franchise, it’s a whole different world," he said. "We decided we couldn’t run it any more because we didn’t have enough young blood to keep it going."
"[Drinking establishments] are shifting," Fischer said. "We’re getting a lot of movement into the county area [and] Silverdale."
The rise of casinos also has a role in changing drinking habits. At the Chips Casino, Ponderay Cafe & Lounge and Bremerton Lanes in Bremerton and the All Star Casino in Silverdale, people can not only drink, but they can play machines, roulette or craps at the same time.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Harmless fun or illegal blights? | IndyStar.com

Harmless fun or illegal blights? IndyStar.com:

" The games: Many Hoosier Lottery games are patterned after games that have been played in pea-shake houses for years, such as selecting winning combinations of three or four numbers, pull tabs and tickets. People pay 2 cents and up to play, and a winner can collect several thousand dollars."

Friday, February 23, 2007

Carlsbad Current-Argus - Little Argus

Carlsbad Current-Argus - Little Argus:

"CARLSBAD — Knights of Columbus will hold appreciation bingo at 7 p.m. today (Feb. 23) at the San Jose Bingo Hall. Master Packs are $5 and extras are $2.50. Guarantee bingo payout for the night is $3,000. Total possible payout for the entire evening is $10,000.00, includes bingo and pull-tabs. Appreciation bingo is held on the second and last Friday of each month. "

Saturday, February 17, 2007

North Dakota: Struggle to balance the budget?

North Dakota: Struggle to balance the budget?:
Lawmakers have also approved tax cuts, exemptions and other breaks that would reduce state general fund revenue collections by $201 million over two years, including a sales tax exemption for heating fuels, an income tax cut for married couples, tax reductions for pull tabs and bingo cards, and an overhaul of state oil taxes."

Washington in brief : ICT [2007/02/16]

Washington in brief : ICT [2007/02/16]:
Gaming commission pulls plug on Class II Regulations

The National Indian Gaming Commission announced Feb. 9 that controversial new regulations on Class II gaming, announced last year, will be withdrawn.

At the prodding of the Justice Department, the regulations sought to redefine the line between Class II games, such as bingo and pull-tabs, and Class III slot machines. The commission contended that technological advances in gaming machines have blurred the line.

Tribes have responded that the commission's plans to slow down the pace of Class II action would decrease the revenue stream from Class II machines, in part by reducing the number of plays per machine and in part by driving clients to more entertaining venues. A study commissioned by NIGC substantially seconded tribal fears of economic setbacks under the proposed new regulations.

''We remain committed to bringing consideration of these important issues to an early conclusion,'' said NIGC Chairman Phil Hogen in a statement on the NIGC Web site, ''but as it is likely that our finished product would depart in several areas from that published in the Federal Register in 2006, we are withdrawing those earlier proposals. We are busily working on revisions. If and when we finish those ... new drafts would be published as proposed regulations and further comment would be solicited before they are finalized.'' "

St. Paul Pioneer Press | 02/14/2007 | Popular Burnsville sports bar closes

St. Paul Pioneer Press 02/14/2007 Popular Burnsville sports bar closes:
"The loss of the restaurant is having a ripple effect throughout the city. Youth athletes from Burnsville Hockey Club, who raised funds by selling pull-tabs there, are looking for new fundraising options at other businesses, said club president Dan Schroeder.
'Benchwarmer Bob's was a significant partner of the hockey club for 13 years,' he said. 'It will have an impact. '
It's too early to tell how badly the closing will hurt the club, Schroeder said. He wouldn't say how much the club raised annually at the restaurant, except that it was the 'primary spot' for fundraising. The group sells pull-tabs at two other locations."

POST-TRIBUNE :: News :: Betting on bingo

POST-TRIBUNE :: News :: Betting on bingo:

"The State Gaming Commission, which also oversees casinos, took oversight of charitable gaming from the Department of Revenue under state law passed in 2006.
By The Numbers
• $44.7M, What the not-for-profits grossed in Lake and Porter counties in 2006
• $980,018, What the not-for-profits donated to charities in 2006
• $5.8M, Lake County net proceeds for licensed bingo halls in 2006
• $805,707, Porter County net proceeds for licensed bingo halls in 2006

The commission is working to set financial standards for the American Legion posts, churches, VFW posts and other not-for-profits that host many of the regular bingo games and pull tab licenses.
In the meantime, the not-for-profits grossed more than $44.7 million in Lake and Porter counties last year, according to state records. They donated to charity a total of $980,018, about 2 percent of the gross."

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Snohomish County Business Journal

Snohomish County Business Journal:
"There’s a certain rhythm to bowling that’s almost hypnotic: The thud of the ball as it makes contact with the hard surface of the lane. The accelerating hum as it speeds its way toward the pins. The resulting crash as the ball makes contact. The swoosh of the machinery as the pins are reset and it all begins again.

Apparently, I’m not the only one entranced by the game, as more than 53 million Americans participated in 2004 alone, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. That’s more than the number of folks who played outdoor soccer (14.6 million), softball (14.3 million) and table tennis (14.3 million) combined.
Who are these bowlers? According to SGMA, 53 percent are male; 47 percent are female"

Bingo bill aims to cut state fee

Bingo bill aims to cut state fee:
"'Local participation is down by about 150 players per day, or 300 per bingo weekend,' she said. 'We have witnessed a decrease in our pull-tab revenue each bingo weekend to the tune of $8,000 to $10,000.' Pull-tabs are printed tickets that have a pull-tab, or seal, opened to reveal a winning or losing combination on each ticket or on a separate card.
'The players are saving their money for an evening at Hollywood Slots, and the locals are choosing to go to Hollywood Slots,' Loring said.
'With the loss of local player dollars and pull-tab revenue, we are experiencing losses of around $20,000 to $30,000 per game weekend,' she said.
If the losses continue at their current rate, the tribe projects, the Penobscot Nation stands to lose revenues of at least $200,000 a year, she said.
The Penobscot Nation is the only federally recognized American Indian tribe in Maine licensed to operate high-stakes bingo games."

Slots look-alikes pop up in Arundel - baltimoresun.com

Slots look-alikes pop up in Arundel - baltimoresun.com:

"At Bingo World in Brooklyn Park, rows of new video-gaming machines dazzle with displays of spinning cherries, 7's and BAR icons. The machines emit a series of throaty 'ka-chings' when the symbols line up, and they can spit out vouchers that can be redeemed for hundreds of dollars.

Some patrons who feed $20 bills into the machines call them 'slots,' but the operators of three bingo halls in Anne Arundel County that have installed 200 of the machines during the past year consider them instant video bingo machines that conform with state and county laws.

Critics aren't so sure. As Maryland lawmakers resume the debate over legalizing slot machines statewide, House Speaker Michael E. Busch questioned whether there is a significant difference between the new video bingo machines and slots.

'That's a legitimate question - and one the attorney general ought to review,' said Busch, an Anne Arundel County Democrat and a slots opponent.

Assistant Attorney General Kathryn M. Rowe, citing a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling six years ago that cleared the way for instant video bingo machines in Calvert County, said, 'As far as state law goes, if [the new Anne Arundel machines] are the same as the Calvert County machines, they are legal.'

Representatives for two of the three Anne Arundel establishments, Bingo World and Wayson's Bingo in Lothian, declined requests for comment. Officials at the third, Delta Daily Double Bingo in Laurel, referred questions to a manager, Craig Romak, who was unavailable for comment.

The emergence of instant video bingo machines in Anne Arundel comes as some Maryland lawmakers, including Senate President Thomas"

The Pilot-Independent - Walker, Minnesota

The Pilot-Independent - Walker, Minnesota:

"McKeown stressed the revenue the Hackensack Lions Club raises from selling pulltabs at the Muni — revenue the Club donates generously to city projects.
The Lions contribute large amounts of money to keep the community building running, Larry Ciha said.
According to McKeown, between 2004 and 2006 the Lions gave more than $67,000 in pulltab proceeds to community projects.
'Without the Lions revenue, you'd have higher taxes and diminished services,' he predicted.
Equally to the point are provisions of the 15-year bond agreement for the off-sale liquor store. The agreement, signed three years ago, requires that the on-sale continue to operate, as long as it makes a profit. Even without a profit, the city would have to get approval from all bondholders before it could do anything.
Closing the Muni is a moot point, Curly Franzwa said. 'It couldn't be sold as an operating business anyway.'"