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Illinois Gaming Market

How to Ensure Your Bar and Gaming Patrons are Over 21

November 27, 2018

As a gaming establishment, safeguarding against underage gaming and alcohol consumption is extremely important. Underage patrons who are found either gaming or consuming alcohol on your premises can lead to fines and/or the loss of your license. To help prevent this, follow these helpful guidelines.

Signage in Your Establishment

One of the first and easiest ways to comply with the law is ensuring you have the required signage posted in your location. All liquor retailers must post a government warning sign alerting the dangers of drinking while pregnant, their liquor license and IBT (Illinois Business Tax) Certificate. These must be framed and posted in a location that is visible for patrons to see, such as next to the register or above the bar. A Proof of Age sign is both suggested and possibly required depending on your local jurisdiction authority. You can get more information about these via the Illinois Liquor Control Commission website.

Verifying Identification

It is important to learn the multiple forms of identification that are acceptable for purchasing alcoholic beverages. It is ultimately your decision on what forms are acceptable in your location.  Acceptable identifications include: a valid driver’s license or photo ID card issued by the state, a valid Armed Forces ID or a valid US or foreign (with a U.S. Travel Visa) Passport with the holder’s photograph.

Knowing the law is only half the battle when it comes to ensuring all patrons are of age.  Identification is ever changing.  As the technology to produce imitation IDs becomes more enhanced, federal and state governments are constantly changing the look, feel and verification technology behind IDs to stay ahead. How could you possibly know all the intricacies of every state license and ID card? The ID Checking Guide has been a standard guide that is used at over 200,000 locations for ID validation. It is easy to get, easy to use and worth purchasing to ensure your business’s safety. If you want to go one-step above, most IDs have a scannable bar code with the option to purchase equipment to scan the license. Although this is a higher-priced decision, it could save you money in the end by avoiding penalties and fines.

Carding Your Patrons

Having an established way to verify ID is great, but the next step is being sure you have checked everyone coming into your establishment. Everyone does this a little differently, but make sure that you have a standard process that has been communicated to all of your employees. You may want to have a sign posted, reminding potential patrons of the repercussions of falsely identifying themselves. A guest doing as much as possessing or displaying a fictitious license or ID can be convicted of a misdemeanor and/or fines up to $2,500. Depending on your venue capacity and staffing, you can have the patrons show the bartender as they enter, or for busier, faster moving locations, you can hire someone to run the entrance for you.

New call-to-actionProtect Your Gaming Area

Verifying your patrons’ ages becomes even more essential when you have gaming in your location. Remember that your gaming area must be strictly limited to persons 21 years of age and older.  Many locations allow people under 21 into their establishment, which makes guarding the gaming area a little harder. Having stanchions in front of your gaming area is common as it serves as a visual reminder that certain patrons must stay out.  Having signage next to your gaming area should also help.  Ultimately, however, checking an ID every time someone looks under 21 is never a bad idea. Another strategy, if space allows, is creating a dedicated room solely for video gaming. It can become mutually beneficial because it allows you to create a private gaming experience for patrons and you have an easier way to monitor who is going in and out of the room. During peak times, having someone manning the door is another possibility.

Taking precautions not only allows you to continue serving alcohol in your establishment, it also allows you to continue growing another segment of your business: gaming. This blog should help you strengthen the security of your business and expand your revenue streams. Be sure you know and adhere to the laws pertaining to your jurisdiction to ensure your location’s long and fruitful relationship with gaming.

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