By RACHEL D'ORO, Associated Press Writer
ANCHORAGE (July 1, 5:15 p.m. ADT) - Authorities have raided a pulltab operation owned by the Native Village of Barrow, fueling a long-simmering dispute between the state and village leaders who say they have a federal right to conduct gambling without an Alaska gaming permit.
Alaska State Troopers and a gaming compliance investigator seized 2,500 pounds of pulltabs, a cash register, business records and other items Monday from the tiny wooden building housing the operation. Troopers said the state has received complaints about illegal gambling conducted by the Eskimo tribal group.
Village officials said Tuesday the shutdown is temporary.
"We plan to open right back up in a couple of weeks," said gaming manager Mabel Kaleak.
The raid followed a May 21 letter from Attorney General Gregg Renkes to the village that it stop the pulltab operations or face legal action. The investigation is continuing and no charges have been filed, said Richard Svobodny, senior assistant district attorney in Juneau.
The state contends the pulltab operation is illegal because the village has not had a state gaming permit since 1999. It pays no state gaming taxes or fees and it offers prizes exceeding the allowable limit.
Village officials said the issue is one of sovereignty.(more)