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Thread: Question about legalities of 'beer pong'?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    303

    Question about legalities of 'beer pong'?

    I'm curious... if people are playing this game (say you set it up at your bar) and it's design is truly a 'drinking game' I would *think* that would make this illegal in the sense you are not allowed to advertise/promote people getting 'fd' up so to speak...

    What if you wanted to do this for a college town basically but just not 'promote' it and in that sense just say it's a game of 'pong' or 'water pong' or whatever they want to use... aka if they use beer that's on them, we just keep an eye to make sure no one's getting out of control, ie too intoxicated as you would with anything.

    Anyone ran into any troubles with beer pong? Anyone tried it? I'm really thinking of making it a go on some of my slower nights.

    Any thoughts/concerns/comments/experience is welcomed. Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    938
    You should be seriously concerned about liquor liability issues here as well as the law. If one of them were to get injured or injure someone else and they could show they became intoxicated from your bar, you would be in deep s. This is because in short, they could clearly show that you did not serve the guests responsibly and backed a game that was partially based on drinking. I would not risk it; this is Russian roulette with your license and business.
    A cleanup guy.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    I live in central mass
    Posts
    641
    We have Beirut table set up for use and we put water in the cups and the students just drink their drinks like they would if they were sitting around the bar. It isn't a drinking game at the bar just a game like any other ie: darts, table games, etc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    303
    Quote Originally Posted by Havensloft View Post
    We have Beirut table set up for use and we put water in the cups and the students just drink their drinks like they would if they were sitting around the bar. It isn't a drinking game at the bar just a game like any other ie: darts, table games, etc.
    That was kind of my plan, but I do know the 'concept' of the game and I was afraid (still am kinda) that it could be argued 'beer pong is beer pong' whether you use water, soda, or anything else. Guess I was hoping of someone with some experience in this issue in regards to the game actually being set up at your spot.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    177
    Some bars have pool tables, I have ping pong tables. I promote as ping pong, not as beer pong.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Waterford, MI
    Posts
    105
    In Michigan, we are required to advertise it as "Water Pong"...

    * The cups must be filled with water
    * Nothing can be done to encourage intoxication
    * Nothing of value can be provided by vendors of alcoholic beverages (i.e., sponsorship, product, etc)
    * N0 alcohol-branded prizes may be awarded to participants/winners
    Duane J. Owens, Director of Pubs
    Happy's Pizza & Pubs

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    20
    In Illinois the Liquor Commission seems to be ticketing bars for merely the advertising of 'Beer Pong' as a violation of the state's Happy Hour Laws.

    I think one Chicago bar that got a ticket for it, is challenging it, but whether you use water filled glasses, or just leave a table in the back for customers to hold their own 'Beer Pong' event, just advertising it's existence under the name 'Beer Pong' seems to get you a ticket.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    www.shotskis.com
    Posts
    255
    We've noticed that every state does have their own set of rules/laws when it comes to Beer Pong in a Bar/Club. Bottom line is to research carefully and when in question, it's not illegle to play a game that you toss a ball in to cups of water until those cups are gone... all the while drinking as you normally would, and what you already have in hand...
    Bobby Barnes
    Shotski's - Part of the new Florida Bar Supplies, Inc Family
    904-375-1325
    http://www.FloridaBarSupplies.com
    http://www.shotskis.com
    www.BombShots.com
    Bobby@shotskis.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Phoenix. Arizona
    Posts
    41

    Just Don't Do It

    It's not worth it. The liability is huge. You get sued and the lawyer will plaster that "beer pong" all over your litigated face. There's plenty of other ways to get people in the door.

    Here's proof.

    Bartheft.com blog - beer pong

    This is an excerpt from a spotter report that we received about a beer pong night (the very end speaks about the beer pong tournament):

    Bartender Summary

    · Bartender 1 – Xxxxxxxxx: Caucasian female with blonde hair pulled into a ponytail. She wore a black shirt with yellow trim and black pants.

    · Bartender 2 – Xxxxxxxxx: Caucasian female with dark brown wavy hair pulled into a ponytail. She also wore a black shirt with yellow trim and black pants.

    The agent found an open spot at the bar and was given a friendly greeting by Xxxxxxxxx. The agent ordered a beverage, and Xxxxxxxxx promptly asked for ID. After confirming the agent’s age, Xxxxxxxxx prepared the beverage and quoted a price upon delivery. The agent presented a credit card, and Xxxxxxxxx confirmed that the agent wished to keep a tab open.

    Xxxxxxxxx was very energetic and spent the majority of her time dancing along to the music. This did not impede her work, and seemed to add to the energy of her surroundings.

    The bar was fairly crowded this evening, and many of the individuals seemed to be collegiate and of questionable age. For the most part, the agent observed Xxxxxxxxx carding individuals as they approached the bar. Later, when the associate arrived at the establishment, Xxxxxxxxx made sure to verify age; however, there were significant portion of the crowd that seemed to be very familiar with Xxxxxxxxx, as evidenced by their conversation content and her familiarity with their names. These individuals were never carded, and it was not long before the agent observed the first beverage being given away free.

    At approximately 9:50 pm, the agent observed a male customer call the bartender by name and ask for a shot of Patron. Xxxxxxxxx prepared the shot. The customer secured cash from the customer, and brought it over to the POS; however, when she reached the computer, she quickly dropped the sum of money directly into the tip jar, which was positioned in rather close proximity to the POS system.

    Shortly afterward, the same customer brought two friends over to take a round of the Patron shots. This time the transaction was handled appropriately; however, these customers were very visibly intoxicated, and they subsequently spilled a good portion of the tequila onto the bar. This spillage was never cleaned up. More importantly, Xxxxxxxxx displayed complete neglect to the level of intoxication of her customers.

    The agent, and later the associate, sat at the bar until 10:00 and never were even offered a menu. Eventually, the agent reached over the bar for one at which time Xxxxxxxxx approached and asked whether we wanted to order food, handing us menus. This was nearly 45 minutes after first sitting at the bar. Xxxxxxxxx did not make any recommendations from the menu, nor did she mention the Thursday wing special that is featured at the establishment. She also neglected to mention any other beverage specials that might have been occurring. As the agent and associate perused the menu for what turned into 19 minutes, the agent observed another beverage being given away for free.

    At approximately 10:07 pm, the agent observed a tall male wearing a hat approach the bar. Again, he and the bartender seemed to be familiar with one another. This individual asked Xxxxxxxxx for “another Margarita.” Xxxxxxxxx promptly prepared the drink, but did not enter anything into the POS system to account for the beverage.

    Finally, at 10:19, Xxxxxxxxx came back to us and asked if we were ready to order. The agent placed a food order, and the associate ordered an additional beverage. Xxxxxxxxx had no idea about the beverage, which was listed as a feature item on the menu. She was very rude to the associate, as if it were not her responsibility to know the menu. Her only response was, “it’s a huge menu.” This behavior was rather disconcerting. If Agent was not on duty, we would have tabbed out and never returned to this establishment.

    As the agent and associate awaited the food, the agent observed Xxxxxxxxx’s bartending style. It was very evident that her pouring methods were highly variable. Occasionally, beverages would be lucky if they were reaching a 1 ¼ oz, and at other times her pour count would reach 5 counts (4 count = 1 ½ oz pour).

    At 10:22 pm, Xxxxxxxxx was preparing a beverage from a bottle that was nearly empty. Rather than using a jigger to measure precisely, Xxxxxxxxx decided to pop off the pourer top and free pour the remainder into the glass. Precision on pour amounts was totally out the window, although it appeared that the customer was likely the one whom was shorted in this scenario. The agent also observed Xxxxxxxxx free pouring from a Beefeater bottle later in the evening, at approximately 11:07 pm.

    The agent’s food arrived in a reasonable amount of time. Surprisingly (This was the agent’s personal feeling by this point), Xxxxxxxxx came to check on the food order.

    At approximately 10:30 pm, the agent observed one of the employee’s that had apparently gotten off work approach the bar. Xxxxxx approached him and asked what he wanted to order. He gave an order, and Xxxxxxxxx postponed service to take care of some of the other customers first. Eventually, he stated that he would like to order from one of the other employee’s tonight. It was unclear about what his intentions were, but it seemed suspicious at the time and was noteworthy. It definitely raised “red flags.”

    At approximately 10:58 pm, the individual that had ordered the margarita earlier had returned. This time he was complaining that he was not nearly drunk enough yet. Xxxxxxxxx mixed him an additional margarita and again neglected to ring the order into the POS.

    Due to proximity, the agent was able to observe Xxxxxxxxx much more closely than Xxxxxxxxx; however, they were both rather variable in pours. Despite this variability, the agent never observed either bartender pour more than a 4 ½ count. This is still rather strong, but not necessarily egregious. The agent would definitely recommend more training on pour counts, or perhaps requiring them to use a jigger for precision.

    The agent also felt that the two bartenders had a good energy behind the bar adding to the vibe of the establishment; however, it appeared that their rapport with the customers went over the line, as evidenced by free beverages being given away.

    Both bartenders need to be much more alert to intoxicate customers, as there were quite a few of them. A group toward the back of the room were becoming very loud and boisterous by the end of the night, classic signs of intoxication for which a bartender should be aware.

    The agent’s largest issue with the MOD’s during this evaluation are in regards to what they allowed to happen during the observation. To begin with, there was absolutely no method to deter underage people from getting alcohol. There was a beer pong tournament and a nice patio area where any individual could take multiple drinks and hand them out to whomever. The agent was not checked for ID at the door, and there were no wristbands or stamps to indicate drinking age. There was absolutely no regulation. On a night when there are open beer pong tables to whomever wishes to play, there needs to be some method of regulation, especially when the layout of the establishment includes a restaurant feet from the bar area that allows all ages. The responsibility to ensure that the area is secure for underage drinking is ultimately the MOD’s responsibility.

    Again, it's not worth it.

    Michael Zenner - CEO

    Eye Spy Spotter Services Inc.
    eyespyspotter.com
    bartheft.com (blog)
    Hospitality Checkpoint PLLC
    hospitalitycheckpoint.com
    liquorassessment.com

    PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
    Office: 480-777-7056
    Toll Free: 800-880-0811

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    82
    c'mon now. "Agent". If you are a spotter you are a secret shopper. Don't try to pass yourself off as ABT or ATF, bro. I was reading it thinking this was an ABT evaluation until I saw your sig with "eyespotters" on it. Very misleading.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zenner View Post
    It's not worth it. The liability is huge. You get sued and the lawyer will plaster that "beer pong" all over your litigated face. There's plenty of other ways to get people in the door.

    Here's proof.

    Bartheft.com blog - beer pong

    This is an excerpt from a spotter report that we received about a beer pong night (the very end speaks about the beer pong tournament):
    Bartender Summary

    · Bartender 1 – Xxxxxxxxx: Caucasian female with blonde hair pulled into a ponytail. She wore a black shirt with yellow trim and black pants.

    · Bartender 2 – Xxxxxxxxx: Caucasian female with dark brown wavy hair pulled into a ponytail. She also wore a black shirt with yellow trim and black pants.

    The agent found an open spot at the bar and was given a friendly greeting by Xxxxxxxxx. The agent ordered a beverage, and Xxxxxxxxx promptly asked for ID. After confirming the agent’s age, Xxxxxxxxx prepared the beverage and quoted a price upon delivery. The agent presented a credit card, and Xxxxxxxxx confirmed that the agent wished to keep a tab open.

    Xxxxxxxxx was very energetic and spent the majority of her time dancing along to the music. This did not impede her work, and seemed to add to the energy of her surroundings.

    The bar was fairly crowded this evening, and many of the individuals seemed to be collegiate and of questionable age. For the most part, the agent observed Xxxxxxxxx carding individuals as they approached the bar. Later, when the associate arrived at the establishment, Xxxxxxxxx made sure to verify age; however, there were significant portion of the crowd that seemed to be very familiar with Xxxxxxxxx, as evidenced by their conversation content and her familiarity with their names. These individuals were never carded, and it was not long before the agent observed the first beverage being given away free.

    At approximately 9:50 pm, the agent observed a male customer call the bartender by name and ask for a shot of Patron. Xxxxxxxxx prepared the shot. The customer secured cash from the customer, and brought it over to the POS; however, when she reached the computer, she quickly dropped the sum of money directly into the tip jar, which was positioned in rather close proximity to the POS system.

    Shortly afterward, the same customer brought two friends over to take a round of the Patron shots. This time the transaction was handled appropriately; however, these customers were very visibly intoxicated, and they subsequently spilled a good portion of the tequila onto the bar. This spillage was never cleaned up. More importantly, Xxxxxxxxx displayed complete neglect to the level of intoxication of her customers.

    The agent, and later the associate, sat at the bar until 10:00 and never were even offered a menu. Eventually, the agent reached over the bar for one at which time Xxxxxxxxx approached and asked whether we wanted to order food, handing us menus. This was nearly 45 minutes after first sitting at the bar. Xxxxxxxxx did not make any recommendations from the menu, nor did she mention the Thursday wing special that is featured at the establishment. She also neglected to mention any other beverage specials that might have been occurring. As the agent and associate perused the menu for what turned into 19 minutes, the agent observed another beverage being given away for free.

    At approximately 10:07 pm, the agent observed a tall male wearing a hat approach the bar. Again, he and the bartender seemed to be familiar with one another. This individual asked Xxxxxxxxx for “another Margarita.” Xxxxxxxxx promptly prepared the drink, but did not enter anything into the POS system to account for the beverage.

    Finally, at 10:19, Xxxxxxxxx came back to us and asked if we were ready to order. The agent placed a food order, and the associate ordered an additional beverage. Xxxxxxxxx had no idea about the beverage, which was listed as a feature item on the menu. She was very rude to the associate, as if it were not her responsibility to know the menu. Her only response was, “it’s a huge menu.” This behavior was rather disconcerting. If Agent was not on duty, we would have tabbed out and never returned to this establishment.

    As the agent and associate awaited the food, the agent observed Xxxxxxxxx’s bartending style. It was very evident that her pouring methods were highly variable. Occasionally, beverages would be lucky if they were reaching a 1 ¼ oz, and at other times her pour count would reach 5 counts (4 count = 1 ½ oz pour).

    At 10:22 pm, Xxxxxxxxx was preparing a beverage from a bottle that was nearly empty. Rather than using a jigger to measure precisely, Xxxxxxxxx decided to pop off the pourer top and free pour the remainder into the glass. Precision on pour amounts was totally out the window, although it appeared that the customer was likely the one whom was shorted in this scenario. The agent also observed Xxxxxxxxx free pouring from a Beefeater bottle later in the evening, at approximately 11:07 pm.

    The agent’s food arrived in a reasonable amount of time. Surprisingly (This was the agent’s personal feeling by this point), Xxxxxxxxx came to check on the food order.

    At approximately 10:30 pm, the agent observed one of the employee’s that had apparently gotten off work approach the bar. Xxxxxx approached him and asked what he wanted to order. He gave an order, and Xxxxxxxxx postponed service to take care of some of the other customers first. Eventually, he stated that he would like to order from one of the other employee’s tonight. It was unclear about what his intentions were, but it seemed suspicious at the time and was noteworthy. It definitely raised “red flags.”

    At approximately 10:58 pm, the individual that had ordered the margarita earlier had returned. This time he was complaining that he was not nearly drunk enough yet. Xxxxxxxxx mixed him an additional margarita and again neglected to ring the order into the POS.

    Due to proximity, the agent was able to observe Xxxxxxxxx much more closely than Xxxxxxxxx; however, they were both rather variable in pours. Despite this variability, the agent never observed either bartender pour more than a 4 ½ count. This is still rather strong, but not necessarily egregious. The agent would definitely recommend more training on pour counts, or perhaps requiring them to use a jigger for precision.

    The agent also felt that the two bartenders had a good energy behind the bar adding to the vibe of the establishment; however, it appeared that their rapport with the customers went over the line, as evidenced by free beverages being given away.

    Both bartenders need to be much more alert to intoxicate customers, as there were quite a few of them. A group toward the back of the room were becoming very loud and boisterous by the end of the night, classic signs of intoxication for which a bartender should be aware.

    The agent’s largest issue with the MOD’s during this evaluation are in regards to what they allowed to happen during the observation. To begin with, there was absolutely no method to deter underage people from getting alcohol. There was a beer pong tournament and a nice patio area where any individual could take multiple drinks and hand them out to whomever. The agent was not checked for ID at the door, and there were no wristbands or stamps to indicate drinking age. There was absolutely no regulation. On a night when there are open beer pong tables to whomever wishes to play, there needs to be some method of regulation, especially when the layout of the establishment includes a restaurant feet from the bar area that allows all ages. The responsibility to ensure that the area is secure for underage drinking is ultimately the MOD’s responsibility.
    Again, it's not worth it.

    Michael Zenner - CEO

    Eye Spy Spotter Services Inc.
    eyespyspotter.com
    bartheft.com (blog)
    Hospitality Checkpoint PLLC
    hospitalitycheckpoint.com
    liquorassessment.com

    PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
    Office: 480-777-7056
    Toll Free: 800-880-0811

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    82
    One other thing

    if you live in a communist state like Michigan that bans it (this is why I moved out of there 14 years ago and never came back) Then that's one thing.

    However, for the rest of us that don't suffer from draconian liquor laws, beer pong is a very viable and entertaining way to bring guests in. Here's my argument FOR it.

    First off-- space constraints. Pool tables take up massive amounts of space and only turn $1.00 per 30 minutes. Couple that with fights, arguments, betting, etc and pool is a really outdated game for a bar.

    Second- beer pong turns $8-10 pitchers every 15 minutes or so, and people line up to play it. So the argument could be made that you require teams so that there are four people drinking off one pitcher; and furthermore, your bartenders have servesafe certs and know when to cut off a customer.

    Who is to say that just because you have beer pong it is going to be irresponsibly played? Your defense can be a good relationship with a cab company, servesafe certification of your staff on safe alcohol vending, and making people play in teams.

    The argument with beer pong is moot, because anyone with a beer in hand can chug it faster than they could if they had to wait for three other adults to make a pong shot into a cup so it is their turn to drink...thus slowing their alcohol consumption, and thus defending against liability.

    I've done this for FOUR years and never had a single problem. I got rid of my pool table and put in two pong tables and people go nuts over them.

    "But barboy, isn't this just a college game".

    Yes. and it was a college game in 1985. So that 20 year old in 1985 is now....44 years old! and guess what? They still love beer pong! I have guys in suits playing it just the other day and laughing their heads off and having the time of their lives...it brings the old folks back to their good ol' days and gets people moving around and socializing. Not to mention when people move around they burn off alcohol, as opposed to sitting on a bar stool getting tanked.

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