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How Casinos Handle Drunk Gamblers

For many decades, casinos have been providing alcoholic beverages to patrons. To increase the amount of time people spend gambling, they provide free alcohol. Some believe that casinos have an interest in getting gamblers drunk. By making poor decisions, players will end up losing money.

Regardless, casinos must follow rules. With alcohol-soaked gaming, they can't just pull out a beer bong, get the gamblers drunk, and make off with their money. Gambling establishments will eventually be in trouble if they serve people too much. Their integrity will be questioned, especially if they make lots of money from the same players.

When a casino serves alcohol, what happens when it crosses the line? The answer can vary from one situation to the next in the following guide


What is the maximum amount of alcohol that casinos can serve to gamblers?

Many gambling jurisdictions will have different rules for the purchase and consumption of alcohol. Depending on the jurisdiction, different laws may be lenient or strict.

An excellent case of the latter is the state of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has various rules regulating the manner in which casinos may serve drinks.

While Pennsylvania's gaming market imposes certain regulations, the following rules are especially important:

  • Gamblers are not allowed to consume alcoholic beverages on the gaming floor.
  • While staying at a casino resort, guests must purchase alcohol with their food.
  • All casinos, no matter the time of day, are prohibited from selling beverages after 11 p.m.
  • Drinks must be finished and disposed of by 12 a.m.

Detroit regulates the three Detroit casinos' ability to provide alcohol less strictly than in other U.S. cities. While it does ban casinos from serving free drinks, it does not stop bars from doing so. Visiting a Detroit casino means that you must buy your alcohol outright.

Compared to other gaming jurisdictions, it is easier to drink in Las Vegas. You can now stroll through the Vegas Strip carrying an open container, too. There are a number of things that Sin City is most concerned about. One of these is ensuring that minors are not buying or gambling in the city.

Of course, Las Vegas casinos must also concern themselves with serving customers efficiently. They'll need to be able to achieve this, but they shouldn't face any alcohol-related fines or issues.

What Happens When Casinos Overstep Their Limits?

Most casinos are not particularly effective at curbing excessive alcohol consumption among customers. Frequently, they run afoul of regulations and are subject to penalties.

As noted above, it is generally understood that Detroit casinos do not provide free drinks to customers. At the MGM Grand Detroit, however, the hotel comped patrons who gambled with a considerable amount of money. As a result, they had to pay a $225,000 fine, which included another $75,000 to cover the MGCB's investigation.

The Mount Airy Casino Resort in Pennsylvania found itself in hot water after serving a gambler 27 drinks over the course of nine hours. At one point during the evening, the intoxicated individual toppled off of their barstool and onto the floor. A $25,000 fine was paid as a result of the disturbance.

The SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia and the Rivers Casino in Philadelphia also had problems with customers serving themselves drinks to excess. During the eight hours that he was drinking, a Pai Gow Poker player was given 17 alcoholic beverages. Rivers was forced to pay a $17,500 fine.

Intoxicated Gamblers Don't Always Cause Problems for Casinos

As you can see, casinos are not free to serve unlimited drinks to their customers. They can easily get into trouble if they over-serve.

However, in some cases, gaming establishments are found to be completely innocent. The players themselves have a responsibility to maintain a reasonable level of sobriety.

The case of Mark Johnston is a perfect example of this. In 2014, Johnston, a California businessman, lost $500,000 at the Downtown Grand Las Vegas. He claimed that the Downtown Grand served him so many drinks that he passed out. Most of Johnston's losses, he claimed, he didn't remember.

He acknowledged that he had already had ten drinks before entering the casino. Despite this, he felt Downtown Grand had taken advantage of him by providing him with 17 more drinks after he had been in the bar for some time.

Johnston's lawyers successfully argued that he was  noticeably intoxicated when he arrived at the Downtown Grand. The judge sided with the casino in the end.

Johnston failed to pay the losses and markers that had been issued after the incident for over a year. A warrant was issued when he failed to appear in court for a hearing.

The player bears a large portion of the responsibility

In addition to the rare cases previously covered, casinos are usually not responsible for drunken gamblers. The players have to take care of themselves instead.

Where permitted, gambling institutions continue to serve alcohol. As part of the casino comps, they usually give out free drinks to those who play enough.

That said, every player should be aware of this and avoid alcohol consumption. Otherwise, they may lose consciousness and possibly bankroll too.

How to Avoid Excessive Drinking at the Casino

It is difficult to decline drinks that are being given away for free at casinos. There are a few useful pointers which can help to ensure that you do not drink yourself into oblivion while gambling. Avoiding overindulgence can be achieved by following these recommendations.

Consume both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages

Even though waitresses routinely offer alcoholic drinks, no one claims that you're required to take these drinks when they do. Rather, you can request non-alcoholic beverages, such as iced tea, softdrinks, and maybe even juice.

You'll benefit from alternating between alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. First off, you can dilute some of the alcohol with this method. Another benefit is that it allows more time to pass between spirit consumption.

Recognize Your Personal Limits

If you are someone who frequently has alcohol, you likely know your limits. The casino is not the best place to put these limits to the test.

Instead, you want to drink far less than what would normally get you drunk. If you're able to consume eight drinks before becoming intoxicated, you should adhere to the recommendation of limiting yourself to three to five drinks at the casino.

If you don't drink alcohol on a regular basis, you should limit yourself to two to three drinks on your visit. This amount will be all you can handle before you start making bad decisions.

Studies have shown that you should keep your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at less than 0.06 percent. For enjoyment without suffering substantial impairment of judgment, this is the perfect range.

When determining if you should drink your favorite beverage, use your best judgment. Because there are legitimate reasons why a gambler should or should not consume alcohol.

Drink water frequently

This is a tried-and-true tip for drinking, in which it is recommended to drink water between drinks. This is beneficial because it accomplishes two objectives:

  1. It aids in the removal of alcohol from your system.
  2. Get something different from alcohol to drink.

If you feel the need to visit the bathroom, you can have a drink from the fountain while you do so. It's safe to assume that a minimum of a pint (or a few ounces each hour) will help prevent you from getting too inebriated.

Instead of using a curved glass, use a straight one.

According to recent research, the shape of your glass may influence how much you drink over the course of the night. Basically, you're looking for drinks to be consumed from a straight glass. People who drank from a straight glass drank at a slower rate than those who drank from a curved glass.

New study data showed that in short and wide glasses, bartenders pour approximately 20% to 30% more alcohol than in tall and skinny glasses.

Based on these findings, you should seek out cocktail waitresses and request that they provide you with specific glass shapes. If you do it, you may look silly, but it will result in your sobriety.

Don’t Drink When You Haven’t Eaten Anything

It is never a good idea to start drinking before you have first eaten. When you eat, you are less likely to drink too much too quickly.

You can eat at one of the casino's restaurants if you're staying at the hotel. Before heading out to the casino, you can also eat at home, assuming that you are close to it.

Our Closing Thoughts

Because the law allows it, casinos always provide free alcohol to their customers, no matter where they are located. They profit by inducing players to make less-than-optimal decisions and, as a result, lose more money. Casinos do, however, have an obligation to prevent compulsive gamblers from receiving more than their limit. Giving a drink to an already intoxicated person can land them in serious trouble.

To prevent gamblers, gaming jurisdictions have rules in place. Casinos that violate such rules will be fined and/or reprimanded.

The players have the responsibility to avoid getting drunk on the job. Most cases, they will have to accept the losses or file a lawsuit. The casino must be violating some major rules if this is allowed to happen.

To sum it up, establishments that host gambling events should control how much alcohol and snacks they serve to each customer. Likewise, gamblers should also be held accountable by not drinking too much or losing too much money.

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