ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) _ A fund-raising raffle to save Asheville’s financially troubled minor league hockey team may violate state laws because its proceeds benefit a for-profit business, a city attorney says.
Assistant City Attorney Curtis Euler warned in a letter to Asheville Smoke president and majority owner Dan Wilhelm that state law prohibits raffles held where alcohol is sold or consumed.
``The City of Asheville cannot allow possible criminal activity to occur on its property,″ Euler wrote. The Smoke plays at city’s Civic Center, which sells alcohol during games.
State law also requires that at least 90 percent of the net proceeds from a raffle go to charitable, religious, educational, or civic purposes.
``I think you could consider it civic,″ Wilhelm said of the efforts to raise money at $50 per raffle ticket.
Wilhelm said the United League Hockey team and its booster club would take the raffle off city property while checking its legality.
The Smoke have 11 home games left and Wilhelm started his fund-raising campaign last week to ensure the team could finish the season.
The money generated by the raffle _ about $7,000 by Friday _ was collected by the Asheville Smoke Pro Hockey Booster Club, a nonprofit group under state law. The club then gave the money to the team for business operations.