Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205
05/05/2005 08:30 AM JUDICIARY
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|the Commission on Judicial Conduct – Mr. Jerry Story || the Commission on Judicial Conduct – Ms. Ethel Staton || the Alaska Judicial Council – Ms. Cristina Williams || the Violent Crimes Compensation Board – Mr. Leroy J. Parker.|
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 165-CARD ROOMS & OPERATIONS 9:31:39 AM CHAIR RALPH SEEKINS announced SB 165 to be up for consideration. MR. RYAN MAKINSTER, staff to Senator John Cowdery, introduced SB 165, which would allow card playing for money in the public arena. Under SB 165 card rooms would be limited unless expanded by a vote from Alaskan citizens. 9:33:33 AM Bonds and application fees would apply so the state would not incur any burden. Underground games happen and there is crime associated with it. 9:34:59 AM CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether a home was the only place where card games were legal. MR. MAKINSTER said yes, if played for money. CHAIR SEEKINS understood a game of poker was legal anywhere so long as the house doesn't take a rake. MR. MAKINSTER alleged the statute says "in a home." CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether SB 165 related to professional gambling. MR. MAKINSTER speculated it would be a friendly game. SB 165 would be doing a service by providing a conduit for the games. 9:36:31 AM CHAIR SEEKINS asked the amount of income a card table would be expected to bring in annually. MR. MAKINSTER responded the average is $90 gross per table per hour. Ten tables would bring about $3 million a year. 9:37:58 AM CHAIR SEEKINS asked who the proprietors would be. MR. MAKINSTER anticipated they would be proprietors of current bars. CHAIR SEEKINS asked the application process. MR. MAKINSTER informed there would be a $25,000 non-refundable fee to apply. The application process would be left to the Department of Revenue (DOR) through regulations. Factors would be based on reputation and controlling interests. Also a person would have to put up a $500,000 cash bond up front. SENATOR HOLLIS FRENCH asked whether the bond would be supplied with the application or upon winning the permit. MR. MAKINSTER responded after winning the permit. License would be granted before obligation of the cash bond. SENATOR FRENCH asked whether a board would review the person's financial statement. 9:39:38 AM MR. MAKINSTER advised the DOR would make the decision. The DOR would come up with a process to determine who is best suited to be licensed. SENATOR FRENCH asked whether there would be a public comment period during the process. 9:41:07 AM MR. MAKINSTER said that would be up to the DOR. SENATOR GRETCHEN GUESS asked the number of cribbage establishments that would put up $10,000 per table. She asked the reason SB 165 doesn't simply deal with poker. MR. MAKINSTER advised other states have added games besides poker. He claimed people do play cribbage for money. SENATOR GUESS asked the definition of a "non-banking" card game. 9:43:04 AM MR. MAKINSTER explained it is a game not played against the house. CHAIR SEEKINS asked who the owners of card rooms are in Washington and Oregon. MR. MAKINSTER implied various sorts of people. CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether other states had the same application fee. MR. MAKINSTER responded no. CHAIR SEEKINS said he did not know any bar owners who have that kind of money. He anticipated the card room owners would be professional gamblers. MR. MAKINSTER agreed. 9:44:42 AM CHAIR SEEKINS stated SB 165 would virtually be opening the state to professional gambling. He asked the name of a prospective owner. MR. MAKINSTER indicated a Mr. Perry Green. CHAIR SEEKINS speculated Mr. Green has financial backers from out of state. SENATOR JOHN COWDERY commented Alaskans should control a percentage of the license. CHAIR SEEKINS said that would be at the discretion of the DOR. He inquired whether the hourly wage and the house rake should be set in statute. MR. MAKINSTER responded it should be fluid. 9:47:27 AM SENATOR FRENCH commented there are different ways to determine the rake. 9:48:45 AM CHAIR SEEKINS asked Mr. Makinster whether he has seen the House companion bill. MR. MAKINSTER advised it was similar to SB 165. CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether the sponsor has researched the sociological effect of card rooms. MR. MAKINSTER alleged there is no study dealing specifically with card rooms. 9:50:30 AM CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether card rooms in Washington are restricted to class 2 card games. MR. MAKINSTER said no. The Gambling Commission allowed bank games to occur and card rooms to compete. Poker and blackjack are allowed but no casino games such as slot machines. SENATOR FRENCH asked whether bank games in Washington were statewide or limited to reservations. MR. MAKINSTER replied statewide on a limited basis. 9:52:41 AM SENATOR THERRIAULT asked Mr. Makinster to describe current Anchorage card rooms. MR. MAKINSTER advised some bars have card tournaments. 9:55:56 AM SENATOR GUESS asked the limit of card rooms that SB 165 proposes. MR. MAKINSTER said three. SENATOR GUESS asked the amount of illegal gambling SB 165 would stop. MR. MAKINSTER did not know. He assumed people would rather play in a safe environment. 9:58:20 AM SENATOR GUESS asked whether there would be security in the card rooms. MR. MAKINSTER said it is in the best interest of the card room to provide security. CHAIR SEEKINS expressed concern about big gambling from Las Vegas entering Alaska. 10:00:45 AM SENATOR HUGGINS asked Mr. Makinster to address the fears of his constituents and to comment on Indian gaming. 10:03:51 AM MR. MAKINSTER advised SB 165 would not be full on gambling. Poker is a slow paced methodical game. Mobsters ran Las Vegas so the crime rate was higher, he alleged. Opinions from the Indian Gaming Commission find the games listed on SB 165 are class 2 and would not open the door to class 3 gaming. 10:06:45 AM MR. ROBERT HALL, fisherman, testified in support of SB 165. People already play on the Internet. He supports a strong gaming authority. Locals would join together and put together a game room. 10:08:47 AM MS. PAT ROSE, retired psychiatric nurse, testified in opposition of SB 165. Gambling can be addictive and it is heartbreaking to families. The move to innocent card games is a foot in the door to bigger operations in the future. 10:10:23 AM PASTOR PHILLIP POLK, Calgary Church, Anchorage, testified in opposition of SB 165. He asserted any gaming license that requires such a large fee is not small business. SB 165 would promote greed throughout the state. 10:12:35 AM PASTOR NORMAN LINDSAY, Assembly of God, testified in opposition to SB 165. He noted no one has spoken yet in regard to the devastation to individuals who are adversely affected by gambling. SB 165 would open the door to big time gambling. SENATOR FRENCH asked Pastor Lindsay whether his church sponsored lotteries, raffles, or bingo games. MR. LINDSAY said no. 10:14:46 AM MS. NORMA GOTT, Assembly of God, testified in opposition of SB 165. She shared her experience of growing up with a father who played poker on a regular basis. It was devastating to the family. Studies prove that when gambling was legalized in Iowa crime skyrocketed. CHAIR SEEKINS asked Ms. Gott whether her church sponsors lotteries, raffles, or bingo games. MS. GOTT said no. 10:16:43 AM MR. JIM SCHULTZ, Anchorage resident, testified in opposition to SB 165. The negative impact that legalized gambling would have on the State of Alaska would be devastating. 10:18:31 AM MR. CHIP WAGGONER, executive director, Alaska Catholic Conference, testified in opposition of SB 165. He asked Mr. Myers whether betting games in bars were currently legal. MR. LARRY MYERS, Alaska Department of Revenue (DOR), answered the current games are missing one element of gambling and that is consideration and so they are legal. "Consideration" means an entry fee, a game of chance, and a prize. 10:20:11 AM CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether there was a definition of personal residence in the statutes. MR. MYERS responded AS 11.66.280 contains the definition. 10:22:17 AM MR. WAGGONER disputed testimony by the sponsor that SB 165 addresses friendly games. SB 165 takes Alaska into commercial gaming enterprises. The rooms will be designed to entice people to gamble all of their money. There is no evidence or research to prove SB 165 would result in less crime or less illegal gambling, rather it would increase crime. SB 165 would hurt Alaskans and the state does not have the money to deal with all the problems the bill would create. 10:24:38 AM Card rooms add fuel to the fire to those who have susceptibility to becoming addicted. The American Psychiatric Association classifies pathological gambling as an impulse control disorder. 10:26:37 AM The American Research Council review on pathological gambling agrees that pathological gamblers engage in destructive behaviors. They commit crimes, run up large debts, damage relationships with family and friends, and they commit suicide. 10:28:13 AM CHAIR SEEKINS held SB 165 in committee.