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Tax gambling at just 1 bar?

The city is considering enacting a gambling tax to increase revenue but it may apply to only one business, the Oasis Sports Bar & Grill.

After numerous questions from councilors at the July 27 city council meeting, city staff agreed to return with a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed tax.

City Attorney Craig Ritchie said the proposed tax is an opportunity for additional revenue.

Under state law, the maximum tax rates are 5 percent for punch boards and pull tabs, 2 percent for amusement games, 20 percent for card games and 5 percent for bingo or raffles.

Nonprofit corporations, such as the Boys & Girls Club and Sequim Senior Activity Center, and the state are exempt from the tax.

No estimates were given for how much additional revenue the new tax might generate for the city's general fund from taxing the Oasis, 301 E. Washington St.

"Is the effort or benefit worth the cost?" asked Councilor Erik Erichsen.

Councilor Ken Hays said, "It seems like it would take minimal effort but bring in some extra revenue."

Debbie Seavy, co-owner of the Oasis, said she would attend the Aug. 10 meeting to address the council in person regarding the proposed tax.

"I'm not sure it's fair to target one business in Sequim to pay this tax. The nonprofits don't pay, and the casino doesn't pay," she said.

"And for the small amount we're talking about, it would probably cost more to implement this tax than they will collect from one small business.

"I could see it if there was 10 or 12 places that did it, but for just one it is kind of crazy."



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