PA casino drinking

New Pennsylvania Law Allows 24-7 Alcohol Sales At Casinos

Soon, if you’re at a Pennsylvania casino you may be able to drink alcohol whenever you want.

Casinos will have 24-7 drinking

A new law was signed recently by Gov. Tom Wolf that loosens up the state’s liquor laws.

Among the provisions of the bill? Casinos will be able to sell alcohol around the clock. Other provisions affecting casinos:

  • Casinos will also be able to offer drinks at “invitation-only” events.
  • Right now, casino have “restaurant licenses” for alcohol sales. The cost for the new 24-7 license is $1 million for year one; $1 million a year for the next four years; $250,000 annually after that.

Which casinos will take advantage of the change is unknown.

The casino changes are just one part of a new law that changes a lot of things about buying booze in PA, including the ability to buy wine in supermarkets and restrictions buying alcohol on Sundays.

The casino provision that alcohol could not be sold from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. is just another holdover from a state that has been behind much of the rest of the country on alcohol sales.

Suffice it to say, it’s somewhat ironic that a place where you can gamble would ever limit another legal adult activity.

Problems with the new casino alcohol law?

Not everyone is a fan of relaxing the restrictions on drinking in casinos. Some critics think the new law will result in increased law enforcement cost:

As police Chief James O’Malley of Plains Township, home of Mohegan Sun Pocono, has pointed out, 24/7 liquor sales could attract already impaired patrons after the traditional 2 a.m. closing time at other facilities, risking increased drunken driving and other offenses. As the saying goes, nothing good usually happens after 2 a.m.

The potential for increased law enforcement and societal costs appears not to have been much of a factor in the debate over this so-called historic bill, which is a pity.

How much added cost or impact the law creates that seems to be a matter of conjecture, for now.

No longer tied to gambling expansion legislation

Once upon a time, the loosening of alcohol sales at the state’s casinos was tied to PA online poker and casino legislation, along with a number of provisions affecting the state’s gambling industry.

However, alcohol sales were stripped from that effort and added to the over-arching alcohol bill.

Meanwhile, the gambling expansion and online gambling have languished awaiting a vote in the PA House.