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Casino Alcohol Policies & Free Drinks

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June 15, 2010


The "free drink" is becoming less common in casinos as studies show that casinos can sell more alcohol when they stop giving it away.

There are commercial casinos in 13 states.  "Free drinks" are allowed in 9 of them:

  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi,
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota 

The other 4 states with commercial casinos must sell alcohol.  No free drinks.

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
Source: American Gambling Association


Most of the 500 Indian casinos that operate in 28 of our states sell alcohol.  Many casino that do not are now seeking licenses to do so.  This is evidenced by the following examples:

  • Harrah's Cherokee in North Carolina got permission from voters last year to add alcohol sales to its casino.
  • Turning Stone in upstate New York won a state liquor license in May that will make alcohol more widely available throughout its facilities.
  • Fire Rock Casino, run by the Navajo in New Mexico, now serves alcohol even though the sales or possession of it are prohibited on their reservation.
At most casinos the minimum age to enter is determined by the minimum age to drink.  In states that require a minimum age of 21 to enter a facility serving alcohol, casino have set 21 as their minimum age to enter to protect the provisions of their liquor license.  Non-alcohol casinos generally allow entrance to a minimum age of 18 years old.

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