"An Act relating to card rooms and card operations, and permitting issuance of a license to own a card room and conduct card games in a municipality of the state if the municipality has adopted an ordinance, ratified by a majority of the municipal voters voting on the question, authorizing card rooms and card games in that municipality. "
"By recognizing this trend and the fact that we already allow this type gaming in our homes, Alaska can address the issue head on and make card games a legitimate, safe, social activity that will increase revenue and job opportunities while minimizing the negative effects of underground gambling."
- Rep. Kott
The growing popularity of poker is obvious to who have recently surf TV channels. Many networks, from ESPN to the Travel Channel, are regularly televising Texas Hold 'em tournaments and enjoying sky rocketing ratings and subsequent advertising revenues. Men and woman, old and young are joining the poker trend, which shows no signs of slowing. Due to this growth in interest, the intent of HB 272 is to allow social card games to be played in a tightly controlled public environment. Alaska can address the trend and bring this popular pastime into compliance with the safety and revenue laws of the state.
Under HB 272 card rooms would be limited to boroughs with a population of 30,000 or more and only one card room establishment per 30,000 people. These card rooms would be limited to players 21 years of age or older, and they would only offer non-banked card games such as poker, cribbage, rummy, etc.
In addition to the taxable revenue generated by the card rooms, food and drink purchases, and table charges, the establishments would also pay $10,000 per table annually to the state and would be required to hold quarterly tournaments to benefit a non-profit educational institution or group. As part of the licensing procedure, the card room operators would also be responsible for covering the administrative cost of licensing and subsequent enforcement through a $25,000 application fee.
In addition to the revenue and job creation, regulated card rooms would allow for players to enjoy their hobby in a safe regulated environment rather than playing in an unsavory, and often unsafe "back room." Currently many players, in addition to their friendly home game, play in underground games where the "house" takes in large profits with little assurance of "fair" play. Although not an everyday occurrence, players at these games have in the past been held up at gunpoint with little recourse because of the shady and illegal nature of the game.
By recognizing this trend and the fact that we already allow this type gaming in our homes, Alaska can address the issue head on and make card games a legitimate, safe, social activity that will increase revenue and job opportunities while minimizing the negative effects of underground gambling.