The way split-pot drawings have been conducted at stock car races in Aberdeen appears to be out of line with state law, Brown County commissioners were told during their Tuesday meeting.
Split-pot drawings, which require lottery applications that are OK'd by the Brown County Commission, are not supposed to benefit for-profit entities, said Larry Lovrien, Brown County state's attorney.
Brown County Speedway promotor Generation 2 Promotions has been taking 25 percent of the pot in recent years.
The 25 percent kept by the racetrack has been put into the driver's point fund. That money is awarded to drivers at the end of the season.
At Brown County Speedway races, the winner of the split-pot drawing has received half the pot. The nonprofit group selling split-pot tickets and Generation 2 split the other 50 percent, according to a letter presented to commissioners and written by Chris White, chief deputy state's attorney.
Generally, split-pot pools are divided between the winner and the nonprofit group that sells tickets.
Lovrien said he's not looking to prosecute anybody for the way the split pot is being operated at the race track. But, he said, his office was asked to offer clarification on the laws.
Maxine Fischer, county auditor, said one group that sold split-pot tickets at the races last year was upset about the 50-25-25 split, prompting her to ask Lovrien's office about the laws that govern split pots.
Lovrien said nonprofit groups — charitable, service and philanthropic agencies — are allowed to benefit from split-pot lotteries. But, he said, Generation 2 doesn't seem to qualify.
According to White's letter, Generation 2 is not allowed to share in the split-pot proceeds as it has. However, it can charge an access or rental fee to allow split-pot ticket sales at the speedway, according to the letter and Lovrien.
Duane Sutton, commission chairman, said a copy of White's letter has been sent to Nick Guthmiller of Generation 2, who will be given time to discuss potential changes with an attorney.
The Generation 2 split-pot contract probably should be rewritten, Lovrien said. He said it's likely the 50-25-25 split-pot policy has been in place for years.
In an American News story last year, former Brown County Speedway promoter Terry Voeltz said he used the 50-25-25 split for 12 years while he oversaw races in Aberdeen. And, he said, other racetracks across the nation do the same.
Sutton said that in years past, when he helped sell split-pot tickets at the races to benefit local soccer teams, the split was 50-25-25.
It's in the county's best interest if the split pot follows state laws, said commissioner Mike Wiese.
In his letter, White noted another way the speedway split pots might not have adhered to state law last year. It requires the group or agency applying to conduct a split pot for its benefit to file written notice with the ruling governing body 30 days in advance of the event. That gives the governing body a chance to object to the split pot.
"I am uncertain as to whether this notice was provided to the county commission in 2012," White wrote.
If it wasn't, that would have also been a violation of state law, he wrote.