State revokes pull-tab vendor license

Posted: Sunday, November 19, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The owner of the Mug-Shot saloon in Wasilla has had his pull-tab vendor license revoked after state officials discovered a $40,000 discrepancy in payments made to the Mat-Su Softball Association.

The association, which includes about 750 members and sponsors games in Palmer and Wasilla, should have garnered $310,000 over the past five years from pull-tab sales at the bar. But instead, according to state Department of Revenue officials, it got only about $270,000.

Ted Anderson, owner of the Mug-Shot and a former vice president of the softball association, said the state's figures are wrong. He is appealing the decision.

''Those are erroneous figures,'' he said Friday. ''I absolutely don't think I did anything improperly.''

Anderson said he did keep more of the profits from the pull tabs than was allowed under state law, but it was for administrative expenses, including rent for office space and use of equipment such as a fax machine.

That violates state gaming laws, said Larry Persily, Revenue Department deputy commissioner.

Under the law, vendors selling pull tabs can keep a maximum of 30 percent of the profit. The remaining 70 percent must be paid to the benefitting group, which holds the state permit.

In this case the softball association, which held the permit, received under 60 percent, according to a report by Charles King, an investigator with the state gaming unit.

''You pay your expenses as a vendor out of your 30 percent,'' Persily said. ''You cannot charge additional for expenses.''

About 2,000 organizations statewide have charitable gaming permits to sell pull tabs.

The Mat-Su Softball Association has had a permit since the early 1990s and has always had its pull tabs sold at the Mug-Shot, treasurer John Carr said.

The receipts account for about half of the group's total budget and help pay for umpires, field maintenance and office expenses.

He said he believes Anderson intentionally withheld payments to the group but that he was following what had become an accepted practice.

''I don't think there was any malice, that 'I'm going to line my pocket' sort of thing,'' Carr said. ''It was just the way it was being done.''

An appeal hearing on the matter has been set for Dec. 7, Persily said.

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