Legal bills may mean higher tip-jar fees

March 01, 1997


Staff Writer

An increase in tip jar stickers fees may result if legal fees keep mounting at the Washington County Gaming Commission, coordinator Kathy Sterling said Friday.

The commission, which regulates tip jar gambling in Washington County, charges $1 for a pair of stickers, one of which goes on a control card and the other on the box holding the paper gambling slips.

Sterling said the stickers and gambling license fees cover the cost of operating the gaming office.

Gambling proceeds are distributed to qualified charities and local volunteer fire and rescue companies, she said.

It cost $91,234 to operate the gaming office during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 1996, Sterling said.

Part of that money covers legal expenses incurred as people file challenges to the new gaming rules, she said.

Since opening in June 1995, the gaming commission office has spent $38,605 in legal fees resulting from administrative hearings and lawsuits.


Sterling's concern with mounting legal fees followed a scheduled court appeal Friday, which was delayed for a month by a judge to give the attorneys time to file more paperwork in the case.

The case involves Robert Lauver, owner of Todd Amusements, who has been charged by the gaming commission for failure to report accurate records and failure to submit reports on computer disc as required by commission rules.

The Lauver case has resulted in a 300-page court transcript along with other legal papers and a boxful of evidence, court officials said.

"I'd like to get this behind me," Lauver said after the court session. "I've tried to clear this up, and I'd like for the gaming commission to stop using me as a scapegoat."

The gaming commission made charity distributions of $586,000 in the one-year period from July 1, 1995, through June 30, 1996, Sterling said. In its most recent semi-annual distribution period ending Dec. 31, the commission dispersed $693,478 in charity funds, she said.

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