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Monday Night NC House Will Vote on Beer Being Sold in the Stands of Stadiums, Ballparks, and Other Similar Public Places

Contact your lawmaker to voice your opposition
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
May 3, 2013

InstandBeerRALEIGH — A bill that would expand in-stand beer sales — now only allowed at Charlotte’s Panther Stadium — into at least a dozen other venues is headed to the House floor Monday night.

Despite its popularity in the Alcoholic Beverage Control panel of the Committee on Commerce and Job Development, which gave it a nearly unanimous approval on Wednesday, the Christian Action League’s Executive Director Rev. Mark Creech said it is not a good idea.

House Bill 610 – Modify Requirements for In-Stand Beer Sales, in contrast to the current policy in North Carolina, violates a cardinal principle of responsible alcohol control — that increased access results in increased sales, increased consumption and increased under-aged sales, inevitably resulting in increased harms,” he said. “In-stand beer sales is increased access, therefore lowering the bar and thereby generating the negative dynamics of irresponsible alcohol use and abuse.”

He said the fact that patrons have to take the time to walk to a concession stand and wait in line to get their malt beverages helps drive down dangerous consumption levels.

That waiting in line is now the case in any stadiums in cities of populations less than 450,000 and with a seating capacity of less than 60,000, requirements which rule out all but Panther Stadium. The proposed bill would eliminate the population requirement and allow in-stand sales in venues of 3,000 seats or more. Requested by the Charlotte Knights in advance of their anticipated 2014 move from Fort Mill, S.C., to a new location in the Queen City, the measure would also affect eight other Minor League Baseball teams in addition to the Charlotte Bobcats, the Carolina Hurricanes and NASCAR Races.

While the bill would not allow venders walking the aisle to hawk their wares — “Get your beer here!” etc. — it could put more alcohol in the hands of minors and those who have already had too much.

A 2008 study cited by the National Institutes of Health looked specifically at alcohol sales in the stands at stadiums and determined that service of alcohol by such venues correlated with an increase in sales to intoxicated and under-aged drinkers. It showed that illegal purchase attempts were more likely to be successful in the seating areas versus concession booths.

“Even though this legislation requires that the permittee certify that the Commission has trained its employees not to sale to under-aged or intoxicated persons, in comparison to the current policy, there will be an unavoidable increase in sales to such persons,” Dr. Creech lamented.

He said he appreciated the fact that the bill includes a directive for the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission to set regulations regarding the in-stand beer sales, rules that could include limiting the amount of time for service, the size of beverages to be served or the number served per patron. But even with any such limits included, the risks of increased sales to minors are too high, Dr. Creech said, urging Christians to contact their lawmakers in advance of Monday’s session to ask them to oppose the bill.

In other alcohol news, the ABC Committee also gave a positive recommendation for House Bill 829, Sale of Growlers by Certain ABC Permittees, which would allow wine shops and anyone with an on-premise or off-premise malt beverage permit to sell malt beverages in resealable 64-ounce containers.

Rep. Edgar Starnes (R-Caldwell) was the only lawmaker on the committee to vote against both bills.

Take Christian Action Today: Please don’t procrastinate. Contact your Representative in the North Carolina House and express your opposition to In-Stand Beer Sales in stadiums ballparks, and other public places where professional teams play. You need to contact your lawmaker before Monday night when the bill will be taken up for a vote.

You can contact your Representative in the North Carolina House and send him/her a pre-written email stating your opposition to in-stand beer sales simply by clicking here