Collaboration in Civic Spheres

State: Tukwila Bar Owes $200,000 In Local Gambling Taxes

by Matt Rosenberg March 23rd, 2011

SUMMARY: The White Horse Bar and Grill in Tukwila, Wash. is facing possible suspension or revocation of its two state gambling licenses. The state charges that the establishment has failed to pay more than $200,000 to the City of Tukwila in local gambling taxes, after disregarding a plan negotiated early last year to pay the debt. A hearing has been scheduled before an administrative law judge.

BACKGROUND: Bow-Car-Bow Inc., doing business as the White Horse Bar and Grill, 14935 Interurban Ave., Tukwila, Wash., has a Class H license from the Washington State Gambling Commission for punchboard/pull-tab gaming and a Class A state license for amusement game activity. State law allows cities, counties and towns to tax pull tab operations up to five percent of gross receipts or 10 percent of net receipts, and to tax amusement games up to two percent of net receipts. The commission can suspend or revoke gambling licenses of businesses, or work licenses industry employees, after administrative hearings on alleged violations of law.

KEY LINK: Notice Of Administrative Charges against White Horse Bar and Grill, Tukwila; Washington State Gambling Commission, February 15, 2011

KEY FINDINGS:

  • Bow-Car-Bow, Inc., doing business as White Horse Bar and Grill in Tukwila, Wash., has held a state license to operate punchboard/pull-tab games since July of 1998, and was licensed to to run commercial amusement games in 2005.
  • In December, 2010, The City of Tukwila submitted a petition to the Washington State Gambling Commission requesting the commission suspend or revoke the gambling licenses of the White Horse Bar and Grill because it hadn’t paid approximately $203,718.35 in local gambling taxes dating to the fourth quarter of 2005. Tukwila’s request came after the business had failed to sign and follow a plan it negotiated with the city in February, 2010 to pay the back taxes.
  • The bar’s actions show a “willful disregard for complying with local ordinances” and under state law are grounds for suspending or revoking the gambling licenses of the business.
  • The commission has given notice to White Horse Bar and Grill that it must answer the charges of failure to pay local gambling taxes to the City of Tukwila, at an administrative hearing, and that its gambling licenses may be suspended or revoked.

NEXT STEPS:

  • The bar responded to the commission’s notice of charges within the required 23 days and a hearing is scheduled in front of an administrative law judge for 1 p.m., May 18 at the commission’s offices, 2nd floor, 4565 7th Ave., Lacey, Wash. The commission will be represented by an assistant state attorney general.
  • Usually within 45 days but no later than 90 days after the hearing, the judge issues an initial order. The license-holder has 23 days from then in which to file an appeal. if it does not, the initial order becomes a final order. Appeals are heard by the state’s gambling commissioners at their next regularly scheduled meeting

RELATED: “Gambling Expansion Proposed to Bring In More Tax Revenue,” Seattle Times, March 16, 2011


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