Alaska gambling bill on hold

An Alaskan gambling bill aimed at legalizing card rooms where players can compete at poker and wager bets on other games, including bridge and rummy, was put on hold this week as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee presented a list of questions and concerns to sponsors of the initiative. The new legislation, which was proposed by Rep. Pete Kott, a Republican official from Eagle River, passed by a mere 4 votes in the House last year, and must pass the Senate in order to become law.

Queries concerning several key components of the bill were raised by both Democratic and Republican officials on the Senate panel in the state capital of Juneau this week, though no details have been released regarding the specific concerns of the panel members.

H.B. 272 was originally proposed in April 2005, and would allow one poker room for every 30,000 residents of a municipality with more than 30,000 people. If a district has less than 30,000 people, just one card room would be authorized.

Gambling venues interested in obtaining a license would be required to pay an application fee of $25,000, a $500,000 cash bond, and $5,000 for each table on the premises.

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