Gaming permit process explained

Posted: Tuesday, May 06, 2003

So, your organization wants to get licensed by the state to run a bingo game, hold a lottery or sell pull-tabs? You'll need someone on your staff or board of directors who knows Alaska gaming law.

Municipalities and organizations that would make gaming operations a source of revenue must obtain a state permit. Part of that process requires the group to name a "member in charge" and an alternate who will be required to pass a test formulated by the Alaska Department of Revenue on the contents of the charitable gaming statue and regulations.

The test is designed to ensure members in charge have the information they need to conduct, record and report gaming activities correctly and ensure the proceeds are properly used.

Members in charge are responsible for preparing, maintaining and transmitting all records and reports required of the permittee. Where the permit holder contracts with an operator, the member in charge is responsible for monitoring the operator's performance and compliance with state law.

Testing began in 1995 after it was recognized some operators had never read the law. Many gaming operations in Alaska were and still are managed by volunteers, and frequent turnover often puts people in positions of responsibility who were not versed in the gaming laws.

"There was no continuity," said Jeff Prather of the Alaska Department of Revenue's Tax Division Gaming Group.

The test isn't difficult in fact, it's open book, he said, but taking it ensures at least some familiarity with state gaming statutes and regulations.

The test itself consists of 50 multiple-choice questions, each including a reference to specific state statue guiding the applicant to the answer. They cover the duties of a member in charge, expenses, records keeping, reporting requirements and the like.

Prather had no figures at his fingertips when asked, but believed the state administers the test to at least a couple of hundred applicants a year.

Once passed, the test does not have to be retaken, he said. There is no provision requiring retesting.

The test is part of the permit application package and is available by mail or at one of the division's offices in Anchorage, Fairbanks or Juneau.

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