Wash. to auction off state-run liquor stores - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wash. to auction off state-run liquor stores

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YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - Washington state is opening a public auction online Thursday of its state-run liquor stores.

The minimum bid is $1,000. Washington is one of several states that have tightly controlled liquor sales since Prohibition, but voters approved an initiative last fall requiring the state to get out of the booze business.

The state doesn't own the properties where the stores are located. Successful bidders would still have to negotiate a lease, apply for a state retail liquor license and stock their stores, but the retail license would not be subject to local approval as is usually the case.

The privatization initiative was led by wholesale giant Costco, headquartered in Washington. The new law still faces court challenges, but the state is moving ahead with implementation.