- Lawmaking, drinking and gambling
- Shots on the senate floor
- The 9 best casino gambling drinks
- Liquor laws that might make your head spin
Liquor laws that might make your head spin
Texas – not at Walmart
In Texas, it’s illegal for companies with more than 35 shareholders to sell hard liquor. Because of this law, Walmart is not happy – the company has been in the process of suing the state of Texas for the right to sell hard liquor since 2015, but Texans are fighting back. No surprise, there.
Colorado – of course it involves a horse
In the Centennial State, a man was arrested for drunken driving, but he wasn’t driving his Porsche 911 the 600 miles to his brother’s wedding in Utah – he was riding his horse, Dillon. According to the article, Patrick Schumacher hit Dillon hard enough to cause him to rear up in the middle of traffic; Schumacher said he was trying to get rid of a fly. Schumacher later failed a sobriety test and a small handgun and several beer cans were found in his saddlebags. He also had his pug, Bufford, in his backpack.
Schumacher was arrested on misdemeanors of animal cruelty, prohibited use of weapons and reckless endangerment, and he was also charged with drunken horseback riding – a traffic infraction in Colorado.
When Schumacher was released, he rode off on Dillon, Bufford in tow, claiming that he was again on his way to the wedding in Utah. I hope he made it without further incident, though I’m sure his adventures were a great icebreaker with the bride’s family.
Maine – beer for breakfast? Only on St. Patrick’s day
Like many states, Maine places numerous restrictions on alcohol sales. Any activities that encourage drinking (like drinking games) are prohibited from bars and restaurants, and drinks can’t be given as prizes for any reason. But perhaps the best law is that alcohol can’t be sold before 9 a.m. on Sundays – unless St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday, in which case alcohol can be sold and served as early as 6 a.m.
I don’t know anyone who gets up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday to start drinking, but I would love an invite to your next St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
Indiana – unhappy hour and warm beer
What’s the one thing that makes the workday bearable? Sure, the paycheck is nice, but we all know it’s the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you see the neon sign at your favorite bar that proclaims “HAPPY HOUR.” Well, the Hoosier State successfully crushes those happy feelings, because happy hours in this state are illegal. Bars can offer all-day drink specials, but state law specifically bans the sales of alcoholic beverages at a reduced cost during a portion of the day.
Well, that’s fine – you’ll just grab an icy 6-pack from your local grocery store and pop open a cold brew the second you walk through your front door. Think again, my friend. Grocery and convenience stores in the state of Indiana can’t sell cold beer, which means you’ll have to plan ahead if you like the mountains on your can blue.
Kentucky – historic consumption only
Of Kentucky’s 120 counties, 38 are “dry,” meaning selling any alcohol is prohibited, and 49 are “moist,” which, besides sounding repulsive, means that selling alcohol is possible only in some areas, is very complicated, or has some sort of restriction. Which is interesting, considering Kentucky is famous for distilling bourbon. In fact, many of their distilleries are located in dry counties – something that Tennessee and its whiskey distilleries share – which is pretty contradictory.
But no worries – the exception is that alcohol can be sold and consumed at “historic sites,” which include bourbon and whiskey distilleries. So schedule a tour and you’ll be able to sample all the history you want – just don’t take any off the premises.
Utah – see no evil, drink no evil?
With the center of Mormon cultural influence located in Utah, it’s no surprise that this state has some of the strictest alcohol laws, and a lengthy list of them. Let’s see a few: if you’re drinking at a restaurant you have to order food, even if it’s just an appetizer; your cocktail can only have up to 2.5 ounces of liquor, so you can have more than one drink in front of you but you can’t order a double; and all drinks have to be made behind what’s humorously referred to as the “Zion curtain.”
Well, not all of them – only if you’re drinking at a restaurant that was opened after July 2012. Then your bartender has to mix your drinks out of sight, usually behind a pane of frosted glass. This law doesn’t apply to bars and clubs, I’m assuming for safety reasons. Without the “Zion curtain,” you can still make sure that the bartender doesn’t slip something unsavory in your cocktail.
Massachusetts – wine is only for two
Like Indiana, Massachusetts has outlawed happy hours, but they’ve gone one step further and banned drink specials of any kind. That’s right – there are no fixed-price open bars, all-you-can-drink days, free drinks, or drinks as prizes. Pitchers have to be shared by more than two people, and individual patrons can’t have more than two drinks at a time. You can order one bottle of wine for yourself if you’re eating, but if you’re only drinking then you better have a friend to share that pinot with.
Pennsylvania – at least it’s cold
The Keystone State controls the sales of wine and liquor through 600 state-run stores, and beer used to be sold only at distributors or beverage outlets where you could only buy cases or kegs. Now, distributors can sell 12-packs and restaurants can sell 6-packs, and there are 300 grocery and convenience stores licensed as restaurants or eating places, meaning they can sell 6-packs as well.
Don’t think about it too much. Just find the closest place that sells beer and be happy that it’s cold. I’m looking at you, Indiana.
Nevada – drunk on the strip okay, strip while drunk…well…
Ah, my favorite. I might be slightly biased since I’m from Reno, but Nevada’s best drinking law isn’t a restriction. In the Silver State, public drunkenness is not a crime, but is considered a health problem by state law. So, while you can be arrested for any illegal crimes you commit while publicly drunk, if you’re on your best drunken behavior then no one can take that cocktail from you. Cheers!
Now for some laws from the rest of the world:
United Kingdom – drunk in a pub can get you busted
Unlike Sin City’s lax laws on public drunkenness, the United Kingdom doesn’t tolerate your alcohol-induced shenanigans. Despite the Kingdom’s thriving drinking culture, it is illegal to be drunk in a pub or club.
I’m not sure what you were here to do besides to get a little tanked, but I’m afraid you’ll have to take it somewhere else. Like, home.
Scotland – kilt fines paid in beers
An official law in Scotland is similar to that equine drunken driving law in Colorado – it’s illegal for someone to ride a cow while drunk. In addition, a Scottish law that may have been enforced at one time but I hope isn’t now says that anyone wearing underwear under his kilt will be fined two beers. I just wonder what poor soul had to check for and enforce this one.
India – doctor’s permission only
Indian states all have different laws when it comes to alcohol; some are completely dry, some are open to all alcohol, and others have regulations in place. But Maharashtra is the only Indian state where you need a physical license to get a drink. In order to obtain a license, patrons need to go to a Government Civil Hospital and apply for one. I imagine it’s kind of like the DMV but significantly more irritating, since you can’t smuggle in any wine to get through the hellish lines.
Bolivia – married women beware
Because married women are the ones who are infamous for being unable to control their flirtatious ways while under the influence, it is illegal in Bolivia for a married woman to have more than one glass of wine in public. I’m guessing the guy who proposed this one was either a lifelong bachelor, gay, or he spent the next few years sleeping on the couch.
Canada – no taste
Forget about ordering a pomegranate peach martini or a raspberry magic mojito in Canada – in this country, bartenders are prohibited from infusing or flavoring their alcohol. They technically can’t add anything to drinks unless the customer asks for it, including ice. So if you want your fruity, candy-like drinks in Canada, you have to hope the bar has pomegranate vodka that came that way in the bottle.
Sweden – paying “the man”
There’s only one chain of stores in Sweden that sells alcohol above 3.5% ABV – it’s called Systembolaget, and it’s owned and operated by the Swedish government. You can get alcohol with a higher ABV percentage in pubs, but if you want to drink at home you’ll have to pay “the man” to do it.
France – BYOB – bring your own breathalyzer
If you want to drive in France, you are required by law to have a Breathalyzer in your car. You don’t have to use it, but the French government probably figures if you see it after you’ve had a few glasses of wine you’ll be less tempted to start your car and attempt to make your way home. Plus, the police automatically have a Breathalyzer handy if they pull you over.
Nigeria – where you can’t bring your own booze
Nigeria has the second largest beer industry in Africa, coming in after South Africa. However, importing beer into Nigeria is illegal. The law is on the books to protect local breweries from competition – so maybe it’s not surprising that their market has done so well.
Australia – it’s all in the numbers?
In Sydney, the alcohol laws that are obeyed today were put into place to curb alcohol-induced violence. These laws state that serving shots, alcohol in glasses, and four drinks at a time after midnight is illegal. After 3 a.m., serving more than two drinks per person is prohibited. I’m not sure where they got the specific numbers, or whether it’s helped their problem, but it’s probably encouraged more people to drink at home.
In addition, in Australia it’s illegal to crush a can with your breasts. Ladies, I know it’s tempting when you see an empty can to stick it between your ta-tas and give it a good squeeze, but unfortunately you have to restrain that urge when you’re down under.
Germany – cycling is crazy
So, you need to get home from the bar, but you’re too drunk to drive a car. You can take your bike, right? Well, Germany says wrong. If you’re caught riding a bike while drunk, not only can you lose your license, you may be ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation to get it back.
Tell me how you really feel, right?
El Salvador – a new kind of shot
Some countries slap you with a fine, some take away your license forever, and others throw you in jail. But El Salvador beats them all for harshest DUI punishment – back in the day, your first drunken driving offense could get you a date with the firing squad. While the death penalty was abolished except for special circumstances in 1983, it still makes you think twice about indulging in Torito and getting behind the wheel. Talk about a killer shot.
So remember kids: drinking and gambling is a perfect match, especially in the comfort of your own home, but don’t climb into your car (or on your horse) after your fifth screwdriver and attempt to drive yourself home. Unless you’re a legislator on your way home from a session –Senator, perhaps you’d be better off in the casino.