Business seeks to bring $500,000 lottery to Juneau

Owner makes plans to sell tickets in city after local stores don't opt in

Posted: Sunday, January 04, 2009

The $500,000 lottery that a pull-tab business in Anchorage is running may be coming to Juneau before the Jan. 9 drawing.

Abe Spicola, co-owner of Lucky Times Pull Tabs, said Friday he was "pretty sure" he would fly to Juneau to set up shop for "a day or two" to sell the lottery tickets, but couldn't promise it.

The lottery came together after the state authorized Lucky Times in late July to hold it in conjunction with the Anchorage nonprofit Standing Together Against Rape, which will receive 10 percent of what's leftover after the pay out. State law only allows lotteries if they benefit a charity.

More than 130,000 of the $5 tickets have sold in 30 Alaska communities where businesses opted in, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Businesses in Juneau were also contacted, but were wary of the proposition, Spicola said. None opted in.

"What? Lotto? There's no lotto in Alaska. Click," he said, explaining how some of the cold calls went.

Spicola said getting businesses to sell the tickets wasn't a problem in the Anchorage area, where he and his wife have an established business.

Amanda Gallion, gaming manager for United Charities, which runs Luckie Louie's at the Nugget Mall and three pull-tab parlors in Fairbanks, said her nonprofit felt rushed and decided to hold off to see if the first run goes smoothly.

"I'm kind of glad that we didn't (opt in). We don't want to be affiliated with something that might not be totally kosher ... in case it doesn't turn out the way they planned, which it already hasn't," Gallion said, referring to a postponement of the drawing.

The lottery drawing was scheduled for New Year's Eve, but was pushed back to Jan. 9 to accommodate tickets mailed-in from rural Alaska.

Still, Gallion said her nonprofit does plan to sell the 2009 tickets if the 2008 round goes well. The Spicolas plan to run another state-wide lottery at the end of this year, and expand to twice a year in 2010.

• Contact reporter Jeremy Hsiehat 523-2258 or e-mail

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