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The ABC Board at their October meeting upheld the ABC Administrative Director's decision that two NW Arkansas outlets had gambling devices and issued fine and suspension of permits.

Our course these two outlets are operated by minority individuals, a frequent target of ABC fines and suspensions and denial of permit applications.

Both outlets were represent by attorney Stephen Morley.

As Morley and his witnesses explained, there is no gambling activity or gaming devices in either store.  What these stores are doing is similar to what McDonald's does with their Monopoly Game. 

Or what automobile dealerships use.

These are gimmicks designed to drawn customers in.

A Springdale police officer testified that he purchased a phone card and received "extra entries" into the sweepstakes.  He had received a receipt but did not offer it as evidence, claiming it was in the evidence room back at Springdale PD.

Morley had an exemplar of a receipt and it became clear why the Springdale Police Officer did not bring that receipt.

Morley showed that the receipt clearly had "Free Sweepstakes" on it and it showed that the officer had purchased a phone card and with that purchase he received some additional plays in the free sweepstakes as a product promotion.

ABC Board chairman Dan Greenberg had a great deal of difficulty understanding that a physical phone card was not issued, just a receipts and pass-code used to make phone calls. 

Testimony was subsequently offered that the phone card companies as a general practice no longer issue an actual card. 

The officer then testified that the Springdale Police Department turned the matter over to the Washington County Prosecuting Attorney who declined to file any charges against the outlets.  

That should have been a big red flag for the ABC.

But you have to remember that ABC Enforcement is headed up by an admitted liar - Boyce Hamlet - who was fired by the Arkansas State Police for cheating on an exam and then lying multiple times to ASP Special Investigators. Hamlet then filed false job applications with other law enforcement agencies that hid his hiring and firing by the ASP to obtain jobs in law enforcement that he would not have been able to obtain had he told the truth.

Testimony was introduced that this sweepstakes had been approved by the ABC under former director Michael Langley and it had operated in NWA for several years.  ABC Enforcement agents had been in the outlets many times over the years and never issued any citations for the sweepstakes. 

Langley had popped in the hearing room, but upon hearing his name mentioned quickly rushed out.

The company that operates the sweepstakes testified and presented evidence that clearly explained how the sweepstakes worked and how it generates business and return customers for stores. A couple of the brighter board members appeared to understand. For the others it was like trying to explain rocket science to an imbecile.

It was clear from the nature of the hearing that ABC Board chairman Greenberg wanted to uphold the ABC Director's decision and force the outlet owner to file an appeal of the decision in Circuit Court.

As it has happened in the past and as it no doubt will with these cases, Attorney Morley will win the appeals and the outlets will not owe a dime in fines or have to suffer a probation period and get payment for all legal fees and costs.


A humorous moment happened in the first hearing when newly ABC attorney
Michael Nelon Harry thought the exemplar receipt had the word, "bet" on it.  Turns out the word was actually "get."

Another humorous moment involving the ABC attorney was when he entered the room.  He is either color blind or has an extremely poor fashion sense.
His shirt (purple checked) and tie (green plaid) were terribly mismatched.



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