pacomartin
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June 15th, 2010 at 3:46:03 PM permalink
‘Free cocktails?’ a dying call at casinos
Julie Carr Smyth, Associated Press
Monday, June 14, 2010 | 2:41 p.m.

The quintessential Las Vegas or Atlantic City casino experience comes with card dealers in ties, feather-festooned showgirls and the most coveted amenity: the free drink.

Yet as casino gambling has migrated from America's storied gambling towns to middle America, the complimentary cocktail hasn't always survived the trip.

The reasons are sometimes moral, sometimes economic. The new generation of casinos faces varying guidelines established by local legislators who didn't always support their arrival.

Paying for drinks has left lovers of the freebie, like Lynette Gross of Indiana, bummed.

"It just makes it more fun. It's one less thing you have to pay for," said Gross, who has visited casinos in Indiana and Las Vegas. "I don't think it makes you drink more. It's just a nice perk."

A new Ohio law puts the state's up-and-coming casinos — just approved by voters in the fall — among those that don't allow complimentary cocktails. Other Midwestern states — Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Kansas — don't allow their casinos to offer free alcohol, says the American Gaming Association.

Of 13 states where non-Indian, non-racetrack casinos are operating, nine — Nevada, New Jersey, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and South Dakota — allow casinos to serve free booze. In three of those, most casinos don't take advantage, the association says.

The Ohio chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving was among groups that pushed for strict alcohol standards at Ohio casinos. The law, signed by Gov. Ted Strickland on Thursday, bans both free drinks and 24-hour liquor sales at casinos, stopping them at 2:30 a.m., the same as bars.

Doug Scoles, executive director of MADD's Ohio chapter, thinks the free drink bans reflect old-fashioned Midwest values.

"I don't want to stereotype," Scoles said, "but I do believe Midwest culture supports not serving alcohol freely, on a 24/7 basis. It's seen for the damage it does to communities."

Kansas stands out even among Midwestern states; it forbids handing out free alcoholic drinks at any establishment. The state has a long history of alcohol restrictions, including statewide bans on happy hour specials and drinking games, such as beer pong.

"I'm sure it came out of the Prohibition era, the temperance and moderation," said Tom Groneman, head of Kansas' liquor control agency. "As a matter of fact, in Kansas we don't allow happy hours. You have to have happy days."

The economic interests of other businesses also play a part.

Restaurants, bars and taverns are among groups that have lobbied legislatures for laws preventing new casinos from offering free alcohol. It's a business issue, not a moral one, said Jarrod Clabaugh, spokesman for the Ohio Restaurant Association.

"We were concerned it would create an uneven playing field," Clabaugh said. "Free drinks improve the odds of people not leaving the casinos to go out, enjoy the community and dine at our members."

Last year, the Illinois Casino Gaming Association even fought back some of its own. A riverboat casino was pushing a change in state law that would have allowed free drinks exclusively in floating gambling houses. The company argued complimentary cocktails would boost patronage in the wake of a statewide smoking ban.

As states new to casino gaming, like Ohio, weigh in on free drinks, even casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City are scaling back to cut costs.

The 38 Vegas resorts reported comping $310.7 million in drinks in fiscal year 2009, a 2 percent drop from the previous year. Total comps in Atlantic City — including drinks, meals, hotel rooms and entertainment — fell 5 percent in 2009, to $1.55 billion.

The increasingly elusive free drink doesn't mean booze is losing its popularity at casinos. Casinos sell more alcohol when they stop giving it away, according to industry data. And some are adding or expanding their alcohol offerings.

Harrah's Cherokee in North Carolina got permission last year to add alcohol sales to its previously dry casino. Turning Stone in upstate New York won a state liquor license in May that will make alcohol more widely available throughout its facilities. And Fire Rock, a Navajo-run casino in New Mexico, now serves alcohol though sales and possession of it are prohibited across most of the 27,000-square-mile reservation.

Alcohol profits weren't worth it for the operators of Golden Buffalo Resort and Casino in South Dakota, however. The Sioux tribe there banned alcohol reservation-wide last year, including at the casino.
teddys
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June 15th, 2010 at 4:09:34 PM permalink
Thanks for posting this. I've only gotten free drinks in Vegas, A.C. and Peru :). Seneca Niagara near Buffalo will comp well drinks for players. You can get free top-shelf drinks in the high-limit room at Greektown Casino in Detroit. I'm curious what drinks people order in casinos. I usually go for single-malt scotch (MacAllan if they have it, otherwise Glenlivet), Rusty Nails (Drambuie & Scotch), or sometimes Vodka and Soda. I sometimes use the opportunity to try "girly" drinks that I would otherwise be embarrassed to order at a bar, like a Baybreeze with Malibu -- quite tasty :). What do y'all get?
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Nareed
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June 15th, 2010 at 4:29:00 PM permalink
All major casinos in Vegas hand out free drinks, yet Vegas is festooned with bars. I don't think the free drinks at the casinos does anything to the bars' business.

I usually drink vodka cocktails. My favorites are Black Russian (vodka & khalua), White Russian (vodka and cream), Sangria (vodka, red wine, grenadine syrup and grapefruit soda; you can get this only in Mexico City as far as I know), Screwdriver (vodka and OJ), Bloody Mary (vodka and tomato juice with tabasco sauce and other seasonings, it's highly variable). In Vegas I'll often get a frozen lemonade with vodka at the Spanish Steps in Caesars (it's outside, by the escalator to the walkway to the Bellagio). I can also drink vodka tonic if nothing better's available.

Another thing I've only seen in Mexico is something called Angel's Kiss, it's Khalua and cream, with a cherry rolled in sugar.
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dlevinelaw
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June 15th, 2010 at 5:13:38 PM permalink
This is kind of random, but I have found that casinos tend to have very good hot chocolate, and always add whipped cream. I get that, or fancy beer.
DJTeddyBear
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June 15th, 2010 at 5:52:48 PM permalink
Quote: dlevinelaw

This is kind of random, but I have found that casinos tend to have very good hot chocolate, and always add whipped cream.

YES THEY DO!


I normally don't drink booze except on special occasions.

Particularly at a casino. I'm not gonna start getting drunk and betting stupid.


But I'll always get a hot chocolate with a splash of something before heading to my room. In fact, I tell the waitress to surprise me with her choice of what to add.

It is my favorite little casino indulgence. :)
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ruascott
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June 15th, 2010 at 6:56:40 PM permalink
This has been kind an ongoing debate at the Indiana casinos of late. As I've mentioned before, with Ohio now having casinos coming online, there is a big concern about the loss of state tax dollars down near Cincy. One of the discussions included allowing casinos to give away free booze. Currently, as the article stated, casinos are not allowed to give it away, and they must stop serving at 3am - same as bars. However, drinks are extremely cheap, pretty much everything is around $2-$3...at the hotel bars outside the casinos they are much higher.

For one thing, I'm hoping that the new competition will loosen up the comps and bring down the hotel prices. The hotels attached to the casinos are rediculously expensive on the weekends. On Memorial Day weekend friday night, the casino I was at was charging $329/night, and they were fully booked. This was at Hollywod Casino in Lawrenceburg - near Cincy.
StingMe
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June 15th, 2010 at 7:27:36 PM permalink
I live in Missouri, where the casinos cannot give away comped drinks. I have noticed different casinos throughout the state have different policies. Ameristar in Kansas City sells alcohol until 3 a.m. whereas most restaurants and bars in the KC area can only serve until 1:30. This is a special local license (I believe), and there are a couple of such licenses in KC that I am aware of, but generally that 1:30 rule sticks.

Another example is the Isle of Capri in Boonville, which is very close to me. Here, alcohol sales are not only ended at 1:30, but the Isle also implements a "one drink per 30 minutes rule." They will not serve anyone more than one drink, whether beer, mixed drink or any other alcoholic beverage, within a 30 minute period. They really do clock the patrons and enforce this rule. The dealers and other casino employees will often tell people that state gaming regulations require the 30 minute rule, which is simply false. The most common explanation I have heard is that the Isle has received some hefty, hefty fines in the past for over-serving and for serving minors (a HUGE no-no). I don't believe, however, that fines would really deter the Isle from over serving. Quite frankly, they could afford to pay fines, and budget them as a cost of operation. It could be that the 30-minute rule was a special provision tacked on to their particular gaming license due to past violations, but for the Isle to say that state gaming regulations require such a rule is simply untrue...
ahiromu
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June 15th, 2010 at 9:00:17 PM permalink
First off, I think it's fucking ridiculous for a state to tell the businesses that they can't give their paying customers a legal substance. It pisses me off every time I go to a local casino.

Mainly: How are comped drinks regulated in terms of costs/taxation? I would think that a drink costs them maybe a buck or two, max, but if their "value" is around $10 then they could write off enough taxes to actually pay for that drink and then some. I don't understand these business accounting practices, so if I'm off somewhere please explain it to me (I really do want to know even if it's technical).
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FleaStiff
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June 16th, 2010 at 12:20:09 AM permalink
Alcohol is legal but highly regulated.

All casinos probably make internal charges for drinks that are served for free ... its akin to what the accountants do when the casino comps you to a hotel room: the hotel charges the casino a flat rate for that room.

Free drinks are charged aboard most gambling boats, so the recipient who gets the drink for free is often required to initial the receipt that was issued to the waitress. Most drinks I've ordered on the Day Boats in Florida were charged internally at a dollar seventy-five. So all I had to do was scribble my initials next to that drink that I had ordered.

New Mexico has some of the strangest rules about liquor in their Indian casinos with differences between the casino and the poker room liquor laws as to what will be served and when it will be served.

The Gaming Commission in Nevada issues reports on the comped items but I don't think there is any way to drill down to see what dollar values are used.
nyuhoosier
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June 16th, 2010 at 4:54:01 AM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

Doug Scoles, executive director of MADD's Ohio chapter, thinks the free drink bans reflect old-fashioned Midwest values.

"I don't want to stereotype," Scoles said, "but I do believe Midwest culture supports not serving alcohol freely, on a 24/7 basis. It's seen for the damage it does to communities."



First of all, this idea that Midwesterners are somehow morally superior to people who live on the coasts is just horseshit. I'm sick of hearing about real Americans in real America, and I'm someone who grew up in Indiana. A lesbian sex shop owner in downtown San Francisco is just as American as some preacher in Iowa.

Second, the free drink may be disappearing in Vegas, too. I've noticed more scrutiny of the LEVEL of play at bartop machines before a drink can be comped. At Planet Ho, they won't comp you unless you're playing more than $1 a pull -- which I don't have a huge problem with. At the Wynn properties, however, they don't comp any drinks at the bars, even though the denominations are pretty high and the games pretty terrible. I think that's pretty chintzy.
dlevinelaw
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June 16th, 2010 at 5:30:14 AM permalink
At bellagio, it had to be MAX play at a .25 vp machine (1.25)
ruascott
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June 16th, 2010 at 5:58:26 AM permalink
How on earth do they monitor that? Couldn't you play Max play for a few draws until you got your drink, and then drop back down?
nyuhoosier
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June 16th, 2010 at 6:19:31 AM permalink
I suppose once you got your drink you could even get up and leave if you wanted. They don't really monitor it once the drink is poured.
ruascott
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June 16th, 2010 at 6:35:06 AM permalink
Quote: ahiromu

First off, I think it's fucking ridiculous for a state to tell the businesses that they can't give their paying customers a legal substance. It pisses me off every time I go to a local casino.

Mainly: How are comped drinks regulated in terms of costs/taxation? I would think that a drink costs them maybe a buck or two, max, but if their "value" is around $10 then they could write off enough taxes to actually pay for that drink and then some. I don't understand these business accounting practices, so if I'm off somewhere please explain it to me (I really do want to know even if it's technical).



I totally agree. The founders of this country would roll in their graves at such an idea in their home state. However, they also set up a system that gave a lot of power to the states, so I guess they'd live with it - as long as not in their state. I agree, the midwest has some of the most dumb ass alcohol laws....we still have blue laws banning sales on Sunday in Indiana outside of restaurants/bars. A lot of these laws that remain I honestly think have a lot more to do with lobbyist pressure from entertainment competitiors. I.E..bars/restaurants don't want to allow Sunday retail sales as that would hurt them; Other entertainment industries don't want casinos to give away free drinks, etc....

You raise an interesting accounting question. It would seem to me that the casino could write off the fair value of the drink...what that fair value is open to interpretation. I really have no idea, but I highly doubt they write off $10/drink. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $2-$3 I would think.
StingMe
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June 16th, 2010 at 7:19:54 AM permalink
Quote: ruascott

I agree, the midwest has some of the most dumb ass alcohol laws....



One of the nice things about Missouri (if you drink) is the very powerful lobby Anheuser-Busch has traditionally had in the state legislature. Missouri has been generally a bit slower on alcohol regulation than other mid-western states. Our BAC limit was higher than most states in the region for many years. The MADD politics did finally catch up with that, however, and it was lowered to .08 (not that I necessarily argue with .08). After the big Busch/InBev merger, and with the ever increasing political prowess of groups like MADD, I'm not sure that strong lobby still exists, but I don't spend any time in Jefferson City.
DJTeddyBear
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June 16th, 2010 at 7:56:13 AM permalink
Quote: ahiromu

How are comped drinks regulated in terms of costs/taxation?

Have you ever noticed that at restaurants the alcoholic drinks are not subject to sales tax?

That's because the liquor tax is paid at the wholesale level.

So, tax-wise, the state doesn't care how much the drink costs, or if the casino gives it away. The tax was already paid.
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teddys
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June 16th, 2010 at 8:03:19 AM permalink
I don't know about New Jersey, but I think laws might differ on taxation of prepared drinks in restaurants. I think I have been charged tax on a drink in a restaurant before, but not in bars. Speaking of which, does anyone here work in the food/beverage industry and explain the average profit for drinks? It always amazes me the markups people get away with for an ounce and a half of vodka and some juice or soda. That costs, what, less than $.60? And they charge $4-$10 for it? Absolutely unbelievable -- no wonder Tao in Las Vegas is the highest grossing restaurant in the country. High prices on alcohol is one of the reasons I don't enjoy going out to bars/drinking so much. I understand the social/atmosphere aspect of it, but how do people justify this?
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nyuhoosier
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June 16th, 2010 at 9:03:04 AM permalink
Quote: teddys

It always amazes me the markups people get away with for an ounce and a half of vodka and some juice or soda. That costs, what, less than $.60? And they charge $4-$10 for it?



So true. Most liquor out of the gun costs less than $.40/oz.
ruascott
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June 16th, 2010 at 9:11:18 AM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

Have you ever noticed that at restaurants the alcoholic drinks are not subject to sales tax?

That's because the liquor tax is paid at the wholesale level.

So, tax-wise, the state doesn't care how much the drink costs, or if the casino gives it away. The tax was already paid.



I think that varies state to state. We have a 9% food and beverage tax here, and it applies to everything. Sometimes bars will sell drinks for a flat price, just for conveinience, like $2 for a beer or $4.50 for mixed drink, but in reality they are selling the beer for $1.83+ tax. Vending machines follow the same philosophy.

In regards to the poster's question, he was referring to how much the casino gets to "write-off" as loss when they give away a free drink, in regards to income tax purposes.
ruascott
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June 16th, 2010 at 9:29:13 AM permalink
Quote: teddys

I don't know about New Jersey, but I think laws might differ on taxation of prepared drinks in restaurants. I think I have been charged tax on a drink in a restaurant before, but not in bars. Speaking of which, does anyone here work in the food/beverage industry and explain the average profit for drinks? It always amazes me the markups people get away with for an ounce and a half of vodka and some juice or soda. That costs, what, less than $.60? And they charge $4-$10 for it? Absolutely unbelievable -- no wonder Tao in Las Vegas is the highest grossing restaurant in the country. High prices on alcohol is one of the reasons I don't enjoy going out to bars/drinking so much. I understand the social/atmosphere aspect of it, but how do people justify this?



Well there are HUGE ranges in gross margins depending upon what kind of bar/club/restaurant you are at. You local pub probably charges somewhere along the line of $3-4 a well mixed drink. The wells they use probably cost somewhere $7-$10. A bottle has 17 shots in it...so it should bring in around $51-68 in gross revenues.

So it looks like the a typical bar would make somewhere around $40-55/bottle. The margins may be slightly better on high-end booze, but not significantly more. Out of that, bars must cover drink mixers, rent, utilities, licensing fees, wages, entertainment, etc, etc.....Throw on top of that bartenders that overpour, give away free drinks, and flat out steal cash....Needless to say the bar business is a very difficult business to be in.

Obviously the fancier bars/clubs have to charge even more to make up for their large physical invesmtment, often well into the seven figures.

You'd be shocked how little retailers markup alcohol over the wholesale price. Some grocery stores are known to sell beer/booze at a loss to get people in the stores. Its a hyper-competitive market.
odiousgambit
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June 16th, 2010 at 9:53:02 AM permalink
Quote: ruascott

You'd be shocked how little retailers markup alcohol over the wholesale price.



It's been my experience that claims of small mark-up by grocery stores etc are manipulations that use *net* profit, not gross profit.

As far as what I know about alcohol specifically, the places I know of that charge the least, and I seek them out, are hugely profitable.

[edited]
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teddys
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June 16th, 2010 at 9:54:36 AM permalink
Quote: ruascott



You'd be shocked how little retailers markup alcohol over the wholesale price. Some grocery stores are known to sell beer/booze at a loss to get people in the stores. Its a hyper-competitive market.

Very true. In my state, they instituted a mandatory 25% markup over the wholesale price because prices were getting too low and encouraging overconsumption. Just another example of "wholesome Midwestern values." :(

The bar business does sound tough. Not everybody can charge $1,500 for a bottle of Grey Goose like Tao. Now THAT's a healthy profit margin!
"Dice, verily, are armed with goads and driving-hooks, deceiving and tormenting, causing grievous woe." -Rig Veda 10.34.4
Nareed
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June 16th, 2010 at 10:07:53 AM permalink
When considering the markup of raw materials in the food business, you also have to consider a very large overhead, plus operating expenses. Restaurants, for example, have either large refrigerators or cold lockers, which are expensive to buy, install and operate. A good location, which helps the business a great deal, also carries its own expenses.
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ruascott
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June 16th, 2010 at 10:16:51 AM permalink
Quote: odiousgambit

It's been my experience that claims of small mark-up by grocery stores etc are manipulations that use *net* profit, not gross profit.

As far as what I know little about alcohol specifically, the places I know of that charge the least, and I seek them out, are hugely profitable.



Well this varies so VERY much state to state that its hard to say. Every state has very unique laws, taxes, distribution requirements, etc....

I know off hand than in Indiana a bottle of Smirnoff runs about $12 wholesale, bought individually. If you buy a case (12 bottles) it drops to about $10.50. The quantity discounts beyond that are miniscule. I can often go to the local CVS or Kroger and find it on sale for $12-$13. For a small bar, they could easily just buy from the retail store and it wouldn't matter much to their profit margins and reduce their capital tied up in inventory. This, however, is illegal for bars to do. They must buy from from their distributors which often require purchases by the case.
ruascott
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June 16th, 2010 at 10:20:49 AM permalink
Edited
ruascott
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June 16th, 2010 at 10:21:21 AM permalink
Quote: teddys

Very true. In my state, they instituted a mandatory 25% markup over the wholesale price because prices were getting too low and encouraging overconsumption. Just another example of "wholesome Midwestern values." :(

The bar business does sound tough. Not everybody can charge $1,500 for a bottle of Grey Goose like Tao. Now THAT's a healthy profit margin!



Ouch. I hope we don't follow suit anytime soon on that one.

Yeah, those uber-high end night clubs in Vegas are are pretty unique in their pricing models. Outside of NYC, LA and Miami, that business model doesn't really work. Of course, you have to figure what the floor space cost of those clubs are as well. It seems to me the casinos are getting to the point of oversaturating the nightclub scene in their hotels. Every place seems to have a club with a $30 cover and $300+ bottle service. I don't see that being sustainable long-term, but what do I know.
Nareed
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June 16th, 2010 at 12:56:35 PM permalink
Quote: teddys

The bar business does sound tough. Not everybody can charge $1,500 for a bottle of Grey Goose like Tao. Now THAT's a healthy profit margin!



ALL night clubs are rip-off joints to begin with. It's just a matter of how much you're willing to be ripped off.
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pacomartin
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June 16th, 2010 at 1:18:48 PM permalink
Quote: ruascott

Yeah, those uber-high end night clubs in Vegas are are pretty unique in their pricing models. Outside of NYC, LA and Miami, that business model doesn't really work. Of course, you have to figure what the floor space cost of those clubs are as well. It seems to me the casinos are getting to the point of oversaturating the nightclub scene in their hotels. Every place seems to have a club with a $30 cover and $300+ bottle service. I don't see that being sustainable long-term, but what do I know.



The model was starting to creep into San Diego in the gaslamp and even into the rock en espanol clubs on the border. It is very common in Mexico to order a bottle of hard liquor like tequila, and a bucket of beer, but it is usually cheaper that way (not an excuse to rip you off).

In general I tell people to fly to Guadalajara if they want three days of nightclubbing. Even with the price of the airline ticket (which is often less than the price of single bottle in Vegas, you can enjoy some first class company, good music, and a very sophisticated night club scene for a whole lot less.
teddys
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June 16th, 2010 at 1:30:57 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin



In general I tell people to fly to Guadalajara if they want three days of nightclubbing. Even with the price of the airline ticket (which is often less than the price of single bottle in Vegas, you can enjoy some first class company, good music, and a very sophisticated night club scene for a whole lot less.



I agree. Or Lima. Actually, anywhere in Latin America is good.
"Dice, verily, are armed with goads and driving-hooks, deceiving and tormenting, causing grievous woe." -Rig Veda 10.34.4
pacomartin
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June 17th, 2010 at 7:37:40 PM permalink
Quote: teddys

I agree. Or Lima. Actually, anywhere in Latin America is good.



Guadalajara is an inexpensive nonstop three hours from Las Vegas. It is also much cheaper than Mexico City and much easier for the phobic to handle.
NicksGamingStuff
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June 17th, 2010 at 8:26:34 PM permalink
I bought a bottle of smirnoff for $9.99 at CVS tonight! Last winter CVS had Jack Daniels on sale for $13 and Skyy for $12!
ruascott
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June 17th, 2010 at 8:42:01 PM permalink
Quote: NicksGamingStuff

I bought a bottle of smirnoff for $9.99 at CVS tonight! Last winter CVS had Jack Daniels on sale for $13 and Skyy for $12!



That is an official loss leader! Unless CVS got some great special pricing for their liquor guy to clear some invetory.
Jumboshrimps
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June 20th, 2010 at 1:27:22 PM permalink
It's not the state governments that are being disingenuous here. IT'S THE CASINOS! Think about it; If the government bans free drinks, that doesn't mean you can't charge a quarter for them. They've crunched the numbers and determined that free drinks cost more than charging full price. I, for one, call that calculation into question, as I believe there is a direct correlation between alcohol consumption and dollars wagered. But, make no mistake, governments have almost nothing to do with whether drinks get comped.
JustJose
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July 2nd, 2010 at 1:05:26 AM permalink
I would think the casinos would actually prefer customers to drink. I would think that would encourage "loose" play.
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steakneggs
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July 19th, 2010 at 2:02:32 PM permalink
Quote: JustJose

I would think the casinos would actually prefer customers to drink. I would think that would encourage "loose" play.


I've always assumed that was why casinos started comping free drinks - so customers would make more dumb plays. A lot of serious VP players refuse to drink while gambling so they can think straight. Now I like the atmosphere in the Mississippi casinos: VERY free with their free drinks, unlike many Vegas casinos which scrutinize the "player" pretty thoroughly to make sure they really are playing. But, Vegas is much more likely to have deadbeats trying to get free booze than a lot of the Mississippi places, which may be pretty isolated from urban areas.
konceptum
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July 19th, 2010 at 4:43:45 PM permalink
Quote: JustJose

I would think the casinos would actually prefer customers to drink. I would think that would encourage "loose" play.


Hmmm. This raises an interesting question. It's known that if a person leaves a party drunk, and drives, and gets into an accident, that the people throwing the party, who allowed the person to leave the party and drive drunk, can result in receiving blame, or at least a part of the blame, for the ensuing accident. The same thing is true for bars and bartenders.

So if the local Indian casino gives out free alcoholic beverages, and a person drives home drunk from the casino and gets into an accident, could they try and hold the Indian casino partly liable? What about from a Las Vegas casino?
JerryLogan
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July 19th, 2010 at 10:13:39 PM permalink
Quote: konceptum

Hmmm. This raises an interesting question. It's known that if a person leaves a party drunk, and drives, and gets into an accident, that the people throwing the party, who allowed the person to leave the party and drive drunk, can result in receiving blame, or at least a part of the blame, for the ensuing accident. The same thing is true for bars and bartenders.

So if the local Indian casino gives out free alcoholic beverages, and a person drives home drunk from the casino and gets into an accident, could they try and hold the Indian casino partly liable? What about from a Las Vegas casino?



Most Indians pass through life in a drunken stupor anyway. But the States won't prosecute them if either they get caught driving drunk or someone who was playing at a Tribal clip joint kills 3 people on their way home from guzzling firewater. There's a certain sentiment with these people, the same sentiment that allows them to get back at the stupid white man by cheating them at all their glittery casinos.
teddys
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July 20th, 2010 at 7:34:07 AM permalink
Quote: konceptum

Hmmm. This raises an interesting question. It's known that if a person leaves a party drunk, and drives, and gets into an accident, that the people throwing the party, who allowed the person to leave the party and drive drunk, can result in receiving blame, or at least a part of the blame, for the ensuing accident. The same thing is true for bars and bartenders.

So if the local Indian casino gives out free alcoholic beverages, and a person drives home drunk from the casino and gets into an accident, could they try and hold the Indian casino partly liable? What about from a Las Vegas casino?



Depends a lot on the jurisdiction, so it would matter greatly whether you were on an Indian reservation or in a regular casino. Also depends on whether the jurisdiction has dram shop laws and social host liability. It's a pretty complicated area of law, and you have to know your own state's statutes and case law very well. Sometimes casinos are regulated differently than normal bars. For example, in Michigan you can't smoke in bars and restaurants now, but you can still smoke in the casinos. Not sure how they got around that one, but it shows that casinos get special treatment from the state.
"Dice, verily, are armed with goads and driving-hooks, deceiving and tormenting, causing grievous woe." -Rig Veda 10.34.4
reno
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October 10th, 2013 at 10:23:36 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

All major casinos in Vegas hand out free drinks, yet Vegas is festooned with bars. I don't think the free drinks at the casinos does anything to the bars' business.



Nareed, I agree with you. There's a theory out there that state legislatures have banned free alcohol at casinos because of lobbying pressure from local bars & restaurants who don't want to lose cocktail revenue. Perhaps that's true for new casinos in urban settings like downtown Cleveland. But California bans it too, and most of California's Indian casinos are in desolate unpopulated areas with virtually no restaurant competition.

In most of these jurisdictions, the reason for banning free booze is to compromise with the churches and MADD to keep the political fight to a minimum.
tringlomane
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October 10th, 2013 at 10:45:04 PM permalink
As far as Ohio goes, they definitely had huge pressure from MADD not to allow free drinks from what I read online. And if you think about it, the way midwest casinos are generally set up, giving out free drinks is definitely a bit more dangerous than Vegas/AC because anyone not staying at the casino hotel will need a car ride home.

With the midwest not giving free drinks, I am more tempted to save gambling for other destinations. Speaking of which, I'm going to Tunica this weekend.

Free booze! Woooooooooooo!
PGBuster
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October 11th, 2013 at 6:08:23 AM permalink
Quote: StingMe

One of the nice things about Missouri (if you drink) is the very powerful lobby Anheuser-Busch has traditionally had in the state legislature. Missouri has been generally a bit slower on alcohol regulation than other mid-western states.

Last I knew, it was legal to have an open container in Missouri. Is this still the case?

BTW, in Colorado, beverages are free, but there is a limit on how often you get served. Unless you become friendly with a bartender. I have a hookup at one of the casinos in Black Hawk.
tringlomane
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October 11th, 2013 at 5:26:45 PM permalink
Quote: PGBuster

Last I knew, it was legal to have an open container in Missouri. Is this still the case?



For 21+ passengers in motor vehicles, yes, you still can have an open container. There are some cities in the state where it's illegal though.
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