24-hour liquor sales at casinos back on Metro-Council agenda

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The sale of booze soon goes back before the Metro Council, this time to discuss a proposal to allow Baton Rouge casinos to sell liquor 24 hours a day. Some local bar workers and law enforcement agencies say this possibility doesn't work for them.

Slots and card tables are normally associated with casinos, right along with alcohol. Right now Baton Rouge casinos are treated just like bars and restaurants; all have to stop selling liquor at 11 p.m. on Sunday and 2 a.m. during the rest of the week.

All of that could change later this month if the Metro Council passes a law that would allow the city's three casinos to serve liquor 24 hours a day. This leads to the question, how will the increased casino competition affect area bars and restaurants?

"I think that in Baton Rouge, it wouldn't really affect us because the casino business is not that large even though we have the new casino in the area. I don't think it'll affect any local bars," said Rachel Herrin with Var's Bar.

Corporal L'Jean McKneely with the Baton Rouge Police Department says it's too soon to say how his office would handle this change.

"We're just sitting back, waiting. If it does pass, we'll assess it. If it becomes an issue, we'll address that issue and do whatever we need to do to make sure we're providing the safety to the community," said Mckneely.

He says the concept of casinos selling alcohol around the clock is nothing new for law enforcement agencies in the state; New Orleans has allowed it for years.

"We could, if it comes about, talk with some individuals down there to see if there problems that occurred throughout the night because of the drinking and how they address it," said McKneely.

Management at the Belle of Baton Rouge and L'auberge casinos are in favor of serving booze 24-hours a day. Spokespersons from both casinos say it would allow the Capitol City's casinos to better compete with gaming facilities in Louisiana and neighboring states.

The next Metro-Council meeting will be Wednesday, March 10, 2013 at 4 p.m.

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