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Washington state starts process of privatizing state-run liquor stores

New York -- Washington state opened a public auction online Thursday of its state-run liquor stores, beginning the process of privatizing an industry the state has tightly controlled since the end of Prohibition, the Associated Press reported.

The minimum bid is $1,000, and within hours, more than 30 bidders had entered the fray, the report said. Some were looking to buy rights to all of the stores, while the majority bid on individual store locations.

Big-box stores will be entering the market for the first time under the voter-approved initiative, which had the strong support of Costco. However, two lawsuits seeking to overturn the measure could derail efforts to implement it June 1.

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