Navigation Top
AGO Logo Graphic
AGO Header Image
File a Complaint
Contact the AGO
AGO 1957 No. 143 - December 19, 1957
AGO Opinion Header Image
John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington

ATHLETIC COMMISSION ‑- WHO MUST BE LICENSED TO CONDUCT CONTESTS --BOXING, WRESTLING AND SPARRING ‑- AUTHORITY OF ATHLETIC COMMISSION TO WAIVE PAYMENT OF TAX --LICENSES

(1) The athletic commission may not waive payment of the tax required by RCW 67.08.050 of those licensed to conduct boxing or wrestling contests, although the proceeds from the contests are to be used for charitable or other worthwhile purposes. (2) All organizations, groups, etc., should be licensed in order to conduct boxing or wrestling contests, except for those scholastic organizations expressly excepted by statute.

                                                                   - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                               December 19, 1957

Washington State Athletic Commission
National Bank of Commerce Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 57-58 No. 143


Attention:  Mr. Frank Stojack, Secretary

Gentlemen:

            By letter, dated November 22, 1957, you requested an opinion of this office on the following questions, which we paraphrase as follows:

            (1) May the athletic commission waive payment of the tax required by RCW 67.08.050 of those licensed to conduct sparring or wrestling contests, whether amateur or professional in nature, where the proceeds from the particular contests are to be used for charitable or other worthwhile purposes?

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            (2) Must all organizations who conduct boxing or wrestling contests be licensed to so do by the athletic commission even though they conduct only one or two contests each year?

            We answer your first question in the negative.

            We answer your second question as follows: Only high schools, colleges, or universities need not be licensed to conduct boxing or wrestling contests, provided that they comply with the statutory conditions hereafter quoted, regardless of the number of contests held.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            RCW 67.08.050 reads in part as follows:

            "A licensee shall . . . within seventy-two hours after the termination of any contest file with the commission a written report, . . . showing the number of tickets sold for the contest, the price charged therefor, the gross proceeds thereof . . .  Thelicensee shall pay to the commission at the time of filing the report a tax equal to five percent of the gross receipts, which tax shall be immediately paid by the commission into the general fund."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            In interpreting a statute, the primary purpose is to determine the intent of the legislature.  However, it is unnecessary to go further than the words of the statute when the meaning is apparent.  Public Hospital District v. Taxpayers, 44 Wn. (2d) 623.  The verb "shall" is used throughout this section in reference to payment of the tax.  "Shall" is an imperative verb.  Since words used in a statute are generally to be given their ordinary meaning [Cochran v. Nelson, 26 Wn. (2d) 82], it appears that the legislature intended that it be mandatory that a licensee under chapter 67.08 of RCW is to pay the tax when due under the above statute.

            In this regard, inMonroe Logging Co. v. Department of Labor and Industries, 21 Wn. (2d) 800,803, our supreme court stated:

            ". . . That an administrative officer has no power to waive the collection of taxes provided for by legislative enactment, is elementary."  (See alsoPacific National Bank v. Bremerton Bridge Co., 2 Wn. (2d) 52;Pierce County v. Newman, 26 Wn. (2d) 63.)

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            Furthermore, we quote from 84 C.J.S., § 630, as follows:

            ". . . and various state officers or employees, departments, or representatives, as well as officers and representatives of political subdivisions, have been held unauthorized to compromise, or otherwise waive the right to collect, taxes. . . ."

            Thus, we conclude that the athletic commission may not waive payment of the tax required by RCW 67.08.050.

            In answer to your second question, RCW 67.08.010 authorizes the athletic commission to

            ". . . issue, and for cause revoke, a license to conduct boxing contests or sparring or wrestling matches or exhibitions under such terms and conditions and at such times and places as the commission may determine.  Such licenses shall entitle the holder thereof to conduct boxing contests, sparring, or wrestling matches and exhibitions under such terms and conditions and at such times and places as the commission may determine. . . ."

            In addition, RCW 67.08.015 (§ 2, chapter 48, Laws of 1951), provides as follows:

            "The commission shall have power and it shall be its duty to direct, supervise and control all boxing contests or sparring and wrestling matches or exhibitions conducted within the state and no such boxing contest, sparring or wrestling match or exhibition shall be held or given within this state except in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.  The commission may, in its discretion, issue and for cause revoke a license to conduct, hold or give boxing, sparring and/or wrestling contests, matches and exhibitions where an admission fee is charged by any club, corporation, organization, association or fraternal society: Provided, That all boxing contests, sparring or wrestling matches or exhibitions which are conducted by any high school, college or university, whether public or private, or by the official student association thereof, whether on or off the school, college, or university grounds, where all the participating contestants are bona fide students enrolled in any high school, college or university, within or without this state, shall not be subject to the provisions of this chapter:  Provided, further, That every contestant in any boxing contest, sparring or wrestling match not conducted  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] under the provisions of this chapter shall be examined within eight hours prior to the contest by a practicing physician and that said scholastic organizations herein exempted from the provisions of this chapter shall be governed by RCW 67.08.080 as this chapter applies to boxing contests, sparring or wrestling matches or exhibitions conducted by any scholastic organizations exempted by this section from the general provisions of this chapter.  No boxing contest or sparring or wrestling match or exhibition shall be conducted within the state except pursuant to a license issued in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and the rules and regulations of the commission except as hereinabove provided."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            Thus, the statute contains an express exception only as to certain scholastic organizations.  Where a statute or ordinance provides for stated exceptions, no other exceptions will be assumed by implication.  Sandona v. Cle Elum, 37 Wn. (2d) 831.

            Furthermore, RCW 67.08.140 (§ 1, chapter 48, Laws of 1951) provides as follows:

            "Any person, club, corporation, organization, association, or fraternal society conducting within this state boxing, sparring, or wrestling contests or exhibitions without having first obtained a license therefor in the manner provided by this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor excepting such contests excluded from the operation of this chapter by RCW 67.08.015."  (See also the last sentence of § 1, chapter 48, Laws of 1951,supra.)

            Thus, we conclude that all groups and organizations should be licensed in order to conduct boxing or wrestling contests, except for those scholastic organizations expressly excepted by statute.

            In this regard, there is no differentiation in the appropriate statutes as to whether or not the contestants are amateur or professional, nor is it of any consequence that the organizations conduct very few contests annually.

            We are aware that payment of the tax required by RCW 67.08.050 places a distinct burden upon local fraternal societies and other organizations whose  [[Orig. Op. Page 5]] sole purpose in conducting boxing and wrestling contests is to raise funds for some worthwhile or charitable purpose.  However, if this situation is to be rectified, it is a matter for legislative action.

            We trust that this information will be helpful to you.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General


ERNEST M. FURNIA
Assistant Attorney General

Content Bottom Graphic
AGO Logo