Las Vegas weighing stricter rules for downtown liquor sales - 8 News NOW

Las Vegas weighing stricter rules for downtown liquor sales

Posted: Updated:
LAS VEGAS -- If some city leaders have their way, downtown businesses that allow people to crack open an individual beer or shot of liquor in their store could soon lose their liquor license.

It is the latest move by the city of Las Vegas to combat public drunkenness on Fremont Street. City leaders are also proposing imposing bigger fines and more limitations on what they can sell.

Metro Police has long said public drunkenness is a major problem downtown and has tied it directly to packaged liquor.

Every day, officers say they see people sitting on the corner, drinking a six-pack they purchased in one of the many souvenir shops on Fremont Street. Police say tourists often buy it, then immediately open it up and drink it right outside, a practice which is already illegal.

Now, city leaders are planning to force these stores to bag up any packaged liquor, staple the bag closed with a receipt at the top, before a customer can take it out of the store.

Those that don't can get slapped with a $500 fine. Many downtown businesses say they are being unfairly targeted, but city leaders say the rules are needed to get drinking under control.

"They will come and in one night, they will take my license away. This is over 20 years of hard work, all family, they will take it away," Aliza Elazar-Higuchi with Souvenir Supermart said.

Souvenir Supermart has gone as far as to sue the city of Las Vegas for its crackdown on packaged liquor sales. They say the proposed regulations could put them out of business.

However, Las Vegas City Councilman Stavros Anthony defends the proposed ordinance.

"We don't want are people coming down to Fremont Street with a case of beer and just parking themselves on the corner. They're down there to get drunk. They're not down there to have a nice time and enjoy the entertainment. They're down there to cause problems," Anthony said.

Store owners are not the only ones who would get in trouble under the proposed ordinance. People caught drinking packaged liquor downtown could get slapped with a misdemeanor charge, which means as much as six months in jail or up to a $1,000 in fines.

Some city leaders feel the punishment doesn't fit the crime.

"I wouldn't return if I in fact received such an egregious violation of opening a container or opening a stapled paper bag," Las Vegas City Councilman Ricki Barlow said.

Officers can use their own discretion when writing tickets, especially to tourists who may not know the laws.

The ordinance would also make it illegal to carry alcohol around in anything but a plastic or paper cup.

"People when they get too drunk, they're throwing bottles and cans all over the place and you can get hurt." Anthony said.

City leaders say there will be signs posted all around the Glass Free Zone to warn people. The council will vote on the proposed changes Wednesday at the Las Vegas City Council meeting.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.