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Eye On Boise

Series of house raffles to bail out troubled school district canceled, after found to violate law

A plan to bail out the financially troubled Nampa School District through a series of house raffles has been suspended, after it turned out to be in violation of state gambling laws. Retired developer Phil Allaire planned to sell $100 raffle tickets for 40 Nampa homes he would buy and refurbish; he’d be reimbursed for his costs, and he estimated the school district could get $4.3 million in proceeds. Allaire had been working with the state Lottery on his plan, but the Lottery sent him a letter Tuesday saying his plan violated several state and federal laws.

Allaire, who’d already sold 47 tickets, said he’ll refund them. He criticized the Lottery’s “obstinate attitudes and positions,” and said he may sue. Among the problems the Lottery’s charitable gaming enforcement division identified in his plan: Since he was donating the homes to the non-profit that would run the lottery, state laws wouldn’t allow him to be reimbursed for his costs from the lottery’s proceeds; lottery ticket sales over the Internet violate state law; and no specific date was set for the drawing, which Allaire planned to hold whenever 2,500 tickets had been sold for the next house.

The Idaho Statesman has posted the Lottery’s letter here and Allaire’s announcement here; Idaho EdNews has a full report here, and the Statesman’s full report is here. KTVB-TV has a report here.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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