Thursday, April 01, 2010

March 31st Comes And Goes With No Announcement Of Alaska STAR Lotto Drawing; Time For A State Investigation Of Promoter Abe Spicola

Update June 11th: Drawing to be held June 15th, payout reduced to $350,000. Updated post HERE.

Update May 3rd: Spoke with ticket sales clerk, who said lotto drawing now pushed forward to May 31st. The operator will continue to push the lotto drawing forward each month until all tickets are sold, or the drop-dead suspense of December 31st, 2010 is reached.

Note: All posts on this particular lotto drawing available HERE, with the most recent post displayed first.

March 31st, 2010 was supposed to be the date on which the drawing for the $500,000 Alaska STAR Lotto was to take place. Originally slated for December 31st, 2009, it had already been pushed forward twice because of what Lucky Times promoter Abe Spicola called "insufficient ticket sales".

Well, it's now April 1st, and guess what? Once again, a winner was not announced. Once again, no explanation has been immediately forthcoming from Abe Spicola (pictured at left, courtesy KTUU Channel 2). Once again, the local media have NOT followed up on this aggressively. Once again, it will probably emerge a few days later that Spicola has pushed the date forward a FOURTH time. And once again, it is legal for Spicola to push this forward again and again and again...until he thinks he's sold enough tickets.

Three times is enough. It's time to put an end to Spicola's bullshit charade and shine an official and harsh light of investigatory scrutiny upon him. And there is good reason for my cynicism; it turns out that, on March 22nd, KTVA Channel 11 ran a story casting significant doubt upon the integrity of Abe Spicola's operation. In that story, Spicola once again regurgitated the excuse that "We didn't sell enough tickets to meet the jackpot payout, plus we also want to raise $50,000 for STAR this year so they could hire one sexual abuse educator for the State of Alaska to go around and educate everyone about the sexual abuse problem here in Alaska". Again, Spicola claimed the economy is to blame for not selling enough tickets.

Dept. of Revenue Tax Division Chief of Investigations Scott Stair reiterated that these repeated delays are completely within the law, although they are not limitless. He pointed out that since the first tickets were sold in December 2009, the drawing must be made no later than December 31st, 2010.

But here's where it gets dicey. KTVA found out that court documents spanning the last 12 years detail two assaults, multiple restraining orders and two domestic violence charges against Abe Spicola. When asked about those charges, Spicola reportedly circled the wagons and became defensive, saying "I have had problems - all my charges, any charges that have ever been brought up against me have always been dropped...I have always been cleared of all my charges so for that to even be brought up is very inappropriate".

But KTVA discovered that Spicola had not been cleared of all the charges. While some charges, including two assaults at Chilkoot Charlie's Bar, have been dropped, Spicola pled no contest to domestic violence assault in 2003. Spicola claims he informed STAR (Standing Together Against Rape) of his past problems, and that STAR stands behind him. But STAR's faith in Spicola appears to be eroding; Nancy Haag of STAR claims the first time she heard about Spicola's past was about a week before KTVA's report. In fact, while Haag appreciates Spicola's efforts to publicize their cause, she hints that had they known about Spicola's past, not only would they have asked more questions, but might not have allowed him to work on their behalf.

A search of the Alaska Court System database revealed no results under the name of Abe Spicola.

Spicola has no excuse for stringing Alaskans along like this; he worked for the state department in charge of monitoring and investigating the gaming industry for years. His failure to adequately publicize this Lotto has also contributed to his problems; he failed to open up a website and list all the outlets selling tickets. He also should have announced on the day of each scheduled drawing that the drawing was postponed -- he shouldn't have waited until days afterward. Either Abe Spicola is monumentally incompetent -- or terminally corrupt. In either case, public confidence in him has now been irreparably damaged.

Update: Since this post, a commenter has informed me that it is against gaming rules to do any kind of promotion of a raffle online or through e-mail. This apparently means it's even illegal to post a list of ticket outlets on line. I was not aware of this restriction.

To resolve that dilemma and restore Alaskans' peace of mind, particularly to the one guy who reportedly bought 87 of these Lotto tickets, a full-scale state investigation is warranted.


  1. "...he failed to open up a website and list all the outlets selling tickets"

    Again, it is against gaming rules to do any kind of promotion of a raffle online or through e-mail. I totally understand people's frustrations but this is something that Spicola has no control over.

  2. Promotions are tough, especially when gaming laws are strict. Mr Spicola should have designated more funds for print advertising. It is against gaming rules to use anything electronic or postal, like telephone or mail solicitations. Did he have booths at fairs, and shows? That would have been the way I would have promoted sales. A big poster, and I'm sure many volunteers from STAR would have helped. Oh well, I bought tickets and don't mind the delay.

  3. Thanks for your input, Anonymous. I was not aware that merely providing a public list of all outlets selling tickets would be considered against gaming rules.

    I bought tickets myself. I'm not so much irritated at the delays, but moreso at the haphazard way Spicola explains them. If he knows by the drawing date that he doesn't have a satisfactory pot, he should issue a press release announcing the postponement of the drawing before the fact.

  4. abit confused about the law..nenana ice classic has website with locations..ticket prices..etc..and a few years ago alpine alternatives had web info on their annual house drawings..what would be the difference here with a simular structured info on a web site?

  5. Sure hope someone is keeping an eye on this guy. $400,000 (amount reportedly of sold tickets so far) is plently of money for a sly dog to skip town with.

  6. Of course he didn't sell enough tickets. He picked up the tickets in the valley, then decided to postpone the drawing and never brought any tickets back to the valley. The outlets in the valley couldn't sell the tickets he never brought back. This operation needs much better management

  7. I think he can have a website with information on where to purchase tickets, but cannot sell them online. I'm Anonymous 5.12 and didn't clarify.

  8. Only the really greedy people are getting all bent out of shape it seems.
    If the guy had wanted to skip state with money I'm sure he would have done it a long time ago.
    Gads, get a life!

  9. I heard that the reason the date keeps getting postponed is because Mr. Spicola gave all the money to starving children in Bethel. So all you selfish, greedy bastards should just accept the fact that there will never be a drawing, and Mr. Spicola will be the scapegoat we all need -just like Jesus Christ.

  10. bI heard that the reason the date keeps getting postponed is because Mr. Spicola gave all the money to starving children in Bethel. So all you selfish, greedy bastards should just accept the fact that there will never be a drawing, and Mr. Spicola will be the scapegoat we all need -just like Jesus Christ.

  11. Are you out of your mind?
    Just do what you say you are going to do.
    Be a man of your word and have integrity.

  12. do what you say you are going to stop lying and get your job done.

  13. Let me remind this guy who is saying he is like Jesus he said it was a lottery, drawing, not a "I steal your money and give it away" charity.
    Jesus also said do not lie which is what he is doing.

  14. community care4/12/2010 1:03 PM

    I did not buy any tickets but he is a shister and hope he gets caught

  15. I have to disagree about the time that tickets started to sell, I purchased mine on April 19, 2009! This is now coming up on a year that I have held onto these tickets. They need to announce a winner and not try doing this lotto again unless they can get correct management in there to do the job correctly!

  16. I wish the best for Mr. Spicola. Apparently there are some things that aren't working out. Our expression of support for him to resolve whatever issues he has is a win-win for everyone. If we deride, and he fails, then we fail, and STAR fails. Yes, I bought tickets, but if this whole endeavor flops, no one else will want to try it again. And it is a good way to raise funds for a non-profit, adds some "fun" for residents, and really doesn't cost individuals that much. People "waste" money on lots of things. By being negative, it is making it impossible for him to finish selling the tickets to award the winner, much less STAR.

  17. Is anyone aware of when the "new" drawing will be held? I heard the end of April which is right now!