Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Herald Argus

Herald Argus:
"New gambling law could put some taverns out of business
LA PORTE -- Before selling I Street Family Tavern to Chris Fritzen, former owner Les Strickland told him to never rely too heavily on profits from tip boards, pull-tabs and other forms of illegal gambling to operate the business.
It was some of the best advice Fritzen ever received, as a recent law cracking down on illegal gambling in taverns across the state has already threatened to put some local tavern owners out on the street -- and will soon close at least three cigar stores/pipe shops.
“If I (just sold) liquor and beer, I would be in a world of hurt,” Fritzen said. Fortunately, he also makes a decent profit from food sales at I Street.
Whereas the state formerly turned a blind eye to illegal gambling in bars so long as no one complained, bar owners now fear that under the new law, which took effect Sunday, enforcement will become stricter.
According to the law, tavern owners convicted twice of a gambling offense could be charged with a felony and could also lose their liquor license.
“That’s pretty much the death penalty. It means you’re out of business,” said Brad Klopfenstein, executive director of the Indiana Licensed Beverage Association.
While gambling games have always been illegal to operate at bars, Klopfenstein insists they’ve never been huge cash generators.
“They are nothing but traffic builders. It’s designed to keep people in your establishment and have people spend a little more money,” he insisted."
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