ST. PAUL, Minn. — An illegal football betting pool in an Austin establishment was one of several violations discovered during the three months of compliance checks by the Department of Public Safety Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division (DPS-AGED) and the Gambling Control Board (GCB).
The annual joint effort is a way to educate establishments on liquor laws and illegal gambling. The random checks included 110 establishments in 12 cities around the state between September and November. No major violations were found in 97 percent of the establishments.
Three businesses were fined for violations that included:
- Illegal gambling – VFW, Austin
- An employee was conducting a football pool, taking bets on individual NFL games, and keeping a percentage of the total bets placed.
- Purchasing alcohol at a retail store for resale at the bar – Marshall establishment (case open)
- Unregistered brand labels – Marshall establishment (case open)
The majority of violations were minor with the establishment receiving onsite education or a warning. Minor infractions included:
- Failure to post the required alcohol warning poster.
- Failure to post liquor license.
- Failure to keep liquor invoices onsite.
- Allowing illegal drawing or dice games.
- Incomplete gambling records.
- Prohibited food items for sale.
- Illegal possession of gambling equipment.
The random checks were conducted in:
- Austin (6 establishments).
- Brainerd (12 establishment).
- Duluth (6 establishments).
- Fergus Falls (5 establishments).
- Hibbing (9 establishments).
- Mankato (16 establishments).
- Marshall (7 establishments).
- Moorhead (10 establishments).
- St. Cloud (12 establishments).
- Virginia (9 establishments).
- Willmar (8 establishments).
- Winona (10 establishments)
Education Before Enforcement
The random compliance checks in college towns focused on education about over-service and underage consumption in an effort to prevent alcohol-related crimes, accidents and injuries. Agents also inspected establishments for required license postings, records and receipts, and checking the alcohol purity.
In Greater Minnesota, AGED agents concentrated on charitable gambling compliance and illegal gambling inspection.
“Working with establishments across the state to help educate businesses on the importance of serving alcohol responsibly and legally, and to help bars prevent illegal gambling is a top priority for us,” said Carla Cincotta director of DPS-AGED. “Finding just a few violations in more than 100 establishments shows that bar owners and employees are taking their responsibility seriously, helping to ensure the public’s safety.”
Serving Alcohol Responsibly and Legally
Nearly 20 percent of traffic fatalities in the last five years (2011 – 2015) among 16- to 20-year-olds are drunk driving-related. Alcohol servers play a vital role in refusing service to anyone under 21.
- AGED reminds establishments to ID every customer ordering alcohol every time.
- Any establishment confiscating an illegal ID must turn it over to law enforcement within 24 hours.
- Criminal charges and civil lawsuits can be filed against establishments and servers for both over-service and underage service.
- It is illegal for a liquor establishment to permit any person under the age of 21 to drink alcohol on the licensed premises.
- It is illegal for a licensed retailer to provide alcohol to a person under age. If the person suffers great bodily harm or death as a result of intoxication, the provider can be charged with a felony.
For an individual under 21 trying to purchase alcohol, it is illegal to:
- Use or possess a fake driver’s license to purchase alcohol.
- Lend a driver’s license to another to obtain alcohol.
- Display another person’s driver’s license to obtain alcohol.
- Alter a driver’s license.
Signs of Intoxication
Establishments should educate servers on monitoring signs of impairment and stop serving customers when those signs become apparent. Signs include:
- Loss of coordination
- Impaired judgment
- Reaction time is affected
- Inhibitions become relaxed
- Slurred speech
- With football season underway, establishments need to know that football boards for pay are illegal and considered gambling.
- Outside of licensed charitable organizations, gambling that consists of consideration, chance and prize is illegal. Removing one of those three elements would often make that activity legal.
- Establishments that host licensed charitable gambling, such as pull-tabs, can risk losing their license if football boards or other illegal gambling is conducted on the premises.
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety (DPS)
DPS comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division
DPS-AGED monitors the alcohol industry, issues both alcohol and gambling licenses, and approves regulatory practices. It provides technical and field assistance to businesses and local units of government. It conducts background investigations and criminal investigations relating to alcohol and lawful gambling, the Minnesota Lottery, pari-mutuel horse racetracks and card rooms, and tribal reservation gambling.
Additionally, the division enforces laws pertaining to illegal gambling such as sports bookmaking and other illegal gambling activities. It initiates enforcement actions, resolves and mediates complaints on liquor and gambling violations. It conducts formal hearings on violators, and provides forums for discussion and resolution of liquor and gambling issues.
In 2015, DPS-AGED Activities Included:
- Gambling agents conducted 164 criminal investigations.
- 119 Tribal State compact compliance inspections.
- 24 Corporate background and licensing investigations for AGED, GCB and MRC.
- 984 investigations regarding alcohol complaints.
- 817 pre-license alcohol inspections.