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Panel Debates Anchorage Casino Plan

21 April 2004

Las Vegas Sun

JUNEAU, Alaska -- The House Finance Committee heard arguments Monday for and against a bill that could lead to a casino opening in Anchorage.

Anchorage furrier Perry Green is pushing the measure. He wants to open a casino in the closed Alaska Seafood International building in Anchorage.

He portrayed his proposal as a $100 million construction project that would boost home values in the area by 20 percent while creating hundreds of jobs.

Guy Warren of the Presbytery of Alaska, representing 15 Presbyterian churches, argued that a casino likely would cost the state more money in social problems than it would raise for the budget.

The state Department of Revenue estimated a casino could raise $8.6 million to $10.4 million in state taxes, but cautioned that the department needs more information to accurately project revenue.

Assistant Attorney General Mike Barnhill said the measure eventually could lead to authorization of casinos on Indian lands in Alaska, but it's not clear how much land would fall into that category.

The committee took no action Monday on the bill.

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