Casinos could sell alcohol 24/7 under revised law, which would take effect in 60 days
House Bill 1690, which cleared the House on Tuesday, is expected to be signed by the governor at 4 p.m. It would take effect 60 days after signing.
The bill allows consumers to buy up to four bottles of wine at grocery and convenience stores that already sell take-out beer. The language related to convenience stores formalizes a series of court rulings on the issue.
The bill allows licensed restaurants, hotels, bars and delis to sell up to four bottles of take-out wine. Once licensed, restaurants and eating places also would be able to sell two six-packs, or up to 192 ounces of takeout beer, per transaction.
The steps are expected to generate about $150 million in revenue in the coming fiscal year, Republican legislative leaders said.
H.B. 1690 still requires a study of the state liquor store system, which some lawmakers hope to privatize.
Here are other changes in the liquor law as a result of the bill.
- Casinos would be allowed to sell alcohol 24/7. There are 12 casinos in Pennsylvania, including Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Dauphin County.
- Wine producers could pay $250 for direct wine shipper licenses allowing to sell up to 36 cases of wine per year to each resident of legal drinking age.
- The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board could auction off up to 50 dormant restaurant licenses per county per year.
- The requirement that stores close on certain holidays or operate in limited capacity on Sundays to sell alcohol would be lifted.
- Instant ticket-vending machines, player-activated terminals and technologies for the self-service sale of lottery tickets would be allowed in state liquor stores.
- The food-to-alcohol sales percentage ratio that an economic development liquor licensee must maintain would be a 50-50 split, rather than 70-30 in favor of food. The change is designed to encourage more small restaurant owners to apply for licenses.
- A variety of venues could apply for licenses, including performing arts centers with at least 150 seats, which is down from the 250-seat requirement.
- Bed-and-breakfasts could provide one bottle of Pennsylvania wine to paying guests at check-in.
- Airport restaurants could sell alcohol within the airport terminal after 5 a.m. and until 2 a.m. the following day.
- The LCB would be able to offer coupons and operate a customer relations management program. And the board’s current markup of 30 percent on special liquor orders would be reduced to 10 percent.
- Breweries would be allowed to sell at farmers markets and participate in food expos.
- Also, limited wineries would be able to sell beer produced by licensed breweries and liquor produced by licensed distilleries, while limited distilleries would able to sell beer and wine for on-site consumption.