Lieutenant governor turns down video gambling initiative

In the news

Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2005

ANCHORAGE (AP) — Lt. Gov. Loren Leman has rejected an application for a ballot initiative seeking to legalize video gambling at a South Anchorage location.

Leman said his decision was based on a recommendation by the state Department of Law, which determined the 15-page initiative would violate the Alaska Constitution because it calls for establishing a gaming district in a specific area. State law prohibits the use of an ''initiative to enact local and special laws,'' assistant attorney general Sarah Felix wrote in a memo to Leman last week.

The proposal calls for construction of a building on a vacant lot in South Anchorage to allow such games as video poker, bingo and slot machines, Ken Jacobus, an Anchorage attorney representing the sponsors of the initiative, said Tuesday. Jacobus said the concept could be expanded elsewhere in the state if it works in Anchorage.

Jacobus said the state's interpretation was based on a technicality in the initiative language. He said the measure likely will be clarified and resubmitted.

Sponsors of the initiative include Darwin Biwer, owner of Darwin's Theory, a downtown lounge.

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