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  Common Questions

Provided by Mike Moser, Executive Director, Wyoming State Liquor Association and by Tom Montoya, Chief of Enforcement, Wyoming Liquor Division, Chief of Enforcement, Wyoming Liquor Division

Answers on liquor license types and other issues

Question: What types of liquor licenses are available in Wyoming?

Answer: A Full Retail license allows both on/off premise sales. Restaurant licenses allows on-premise sales only. Alcohol is to be served in dining areas only and 60% of gross sales must come from food sales. Limited Retail (Club) licenses are on-premise licenses for private clubs (i.e.: Elks, Moose, VFW and golf clubs). Clubs are allowed to serve only to members and accompanied guests. Resort licenses are for on-premise sales only. To qualify for a resort license the resort complex must have a valuation of at least $1,000,000.00 excluding the value of the land. It must have a full restaurant and convention facility, and the convention facility must seat no less than 100 persons. The resort complex must also have motel/hotel facilities with a minimum of 100 sleeping rooms. County Malt Beverage Permits are available for locations 5 miles outside the boundaries of an incorporated city/town. This permit allows for on and off premise sales of malt beverage products only. Microbrewery/Winery Permits allow the permit holder to brew malt beverages or manufacture wine. Both of these permits allow for on-premise and limited off-premise sales for personal consumption. The new Bar and Grill license is essentially a restaurant license that allows a dispensing room (bar) but falls under many of the same restrictions of a restaurant license ie. no catering permits, off-premise sales and the 60% requirement.

Question: Are liquor licenses issued by the state of Wyoming?

Answer: No, liquor licenses are issued by local licensing authorities. For locations inside the boundaries of an incorporated city/town, the City/Town Council approve or deny licenses. For locations outside an incorporated city/town, the Board of County Commissioners for that county approve or deny licenses. However, the Liquor Division is mandated to review all liquor license applications for state law compliance before a local authority approves or denies.

Question: Must someone be a resident of Wyoming to hold a liquor license/permit?

Answer: Yes, if the license/permit is to be held by an individual or a partnership. No, if the license/permit is to be held by a corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership or a limited liability partnership. However, these entities must be qualified to do business in Wyoming through the Secretary of State’s office.

Question: Can someone operate under a liquor license issued to someone else if there is a management agreement between them?

Answer: No. The use of management agreements by licensees to let someone operate an establishment under their liquor license is in violation of state law (W.S. 12-4-601). A liquor license may only be assigned or transferred by a sale made in good faith and with the approval of the local licensing authority.

Question: Is there a maximum number of Full-Retail liquor licenses that can be issued?

Answer: Yes, the maximum number of full-retail liquor licenses that a local licensing authority may issue is based upon a population formula set in state law (W.S. 12-4-201(d)). There is also strict limits on the number of Bar and Grill licenses as well as some limits on the number of restaurant licenses in some areas.

Question: Can liquor licensees buy alcohol for resale from anywhere?

Answer: No, Wyoming is a control state for alcohol. The Liquor Division is the exclusive wholesale distributor and seller of alcoholic liquor, excluding malt beverages, within Wyoming. Purchasing alcoholic liquors for resale from any source other than the Liquor Division is a violation of state law and may result in the revocation of the liquor license. An exception exists, however, which allows retailers to purchase wine, not listed by the Liquor Division, directly from a licensed out-of-state shipper.

Compliance checks for tobacco and alcohol… How do they work?     
We in the retail sector have experienced an ever increasing amount of scrutiny in our sales of tobacco and alcohol. One of the most notable is the focus on sales to underage individuals, under 18 years old for tobacco and under 21 years of age for alcohol.

Through federal programs with tobacco and local and state programs with alcohol, compliance checks have been on the rise. Even though compliance checks for alcohol have been around for a long time, these “stings” with tobacco only started about three years ago with the Federal Synar program. General regulations govern how these tobacco and alcohol compliance checks work and confusion reigns in their interpretation. The following is an outline of the existing rules governing these activities.

For informational and law enforcement purposes, the word “sting” is rarely used; usually the term is “compliance check” whether a citation is issued or not. Many law enforcement agencies use compliance checks as a cooperative way to help retailers to detect problems with underage sales. These checks are often done without citations being issued. For example, the Wyoming Synar program utilizes “Reward and Reminder,” where a clerk that doesn’t sell tobacco to a minor is rewarded, and the clerk who violates the law is given a warning, and a letter is passed on to management in both instances.

In the case of liquor compliance checks without citations, a young looking 21 year-old is sometimes used, and in the case of a sale without checking I.D.s, the seller is warned that the individual could have been underage. The method used for such compliance checks differ widely; however, the goal is usually “educational” rather than punitive in the sense that citations are not issued in the case of violation.

When citations are issued, fines are given, and with liquor stings, stricter penalties can be applied. Until July 1, 2002, there were no guidelines regulating liquor stings; however, a law was passed in the 2002 Wyoming Legislature that set new guidelines regulating enforcement of underage liquor sales.

Tobacco Compliance Checks

The Wyoming Department of Health Substance Abuse Division (SAD) is the lead agency for the Federal Synar program that is the basis for tobacco compliance checks. Yearly numbers of compliance are compiled, and federal funds are contingent on the rate of sales to minors remaining below 20%. SAD coordinates, and through federal dollars, funds these compliance checks through local law enforcement agencies.

The state-wide compliance checks begin with a “Reward and Reminder” phase which is an education and awareness progam. Before the “stings” begin, these steps shall be take as outlined in Wyoming Statute 14-3-307 for the minor involved in the check:

  • Written consent from the minor’s parents or guardian, and notification of the minor’s possible involvement in a subsequent court proceeding.
  • The minor, if asked by the retailer, is required to state his true age and that he is under 18 years of age.
  • The minor ’s appearance may not be altered to make him appear 18 years of age or older.
  • The minor, or his parents, cannot be coerced into participating in the program.
  • The person conducting the check shall photograph the participant immediately before the inspection and the photographs retained by the person conducting the inspection.

In conducting the compliance checks, the person conducting the check shall:

  • Remain within sight or sound of the participant attempting to make the purchase.
  • Immediately inform in writing a manager or owner of the establishment of the check and the results.
  • Within two days, prepare a report of the compliance check containing:
    1. The name of the person supervising the check.
    2. The age and date of birth of the minor used in the check.
    3. The name and position of the seller along with the name and address of the establishment
    4. Date and time of the inspection, with the results (whether he sold or not)
  • Upon completion of the report, a copy is to be immediately given to a representative or agent of the business.
  • The person conducting the check may, of course, request a law enforcement officer to issue a citation for any violations relating to an illegal sale.

Tobacco compliance checks in a liquor store with a minor under 18 years old without parent or legal guardian should not be conducted because it is illegal for that individual to enter the liquor dispensing area. Checks can be done in drive-up windows, however, since the minor does not enter the store.

Alcohol Compliance Checks

Compliance checks with liquor have been done for decades, but unfortunately, have not been regulated or governed by any rules. That problem, for law enforcement and retailers alike, ends July 1 with new statutes governing compliance checks. The new laws are modeled after the Synar tobacco program, and are authorized under Wyoming Statute 12-6-103.

Persons between the ages of 18 and under 21 may be used in these compliance checks; and the following rules apply:
The person participating in the compliance check:

  • Shall, if questioned, state his true age and that he is less than 21 years of age
  • Must not have his appearance altered in any way to make him appear 21 years of age or older
  • Cannot be coerced into participating in these checks, nor may his parents or legal guardian

In the event of a citation, the person conducting the check shall photograph the minor immediately before and any photographs taken shall be retained by the person conducting the check.

The person conducting the compliance check shall:

  • Remain within sight or sound of the participant attempting to make the purchase.
  • Immediately inform in writing a manager or owner of the establishment of the check and the results.
  • Within two days, prepare a report of the compliance check containing:
    1. The name of the person supervising the check
    2. The age and date of birth of the minor used in the check
    3. The name and position of the seller along with the name and address of the establishment
    4. Date and time of the inspection, with the results (whether he sold or not)
  • Upon completion of the report, a copy is to be immediately given to a representative or agent of the business.
  • The person conducting the check, if not a law enforcement officer, may request that a citation be issued on any violations during the inspection.

Tobacco and Alcohol Compliance Checks are here to stay; many states have mandatory alcohol compliance check programs as well as the required Federal Synar programs. Whether you like them or not, we will have to learn to live with them. Train your employees; make them aware that usually the person cited is the seller, not the establishment; so that it is in their own best interest to be vigilant.

These guidelines are a brief interpretation of Wyoming law; local ordinances can vary, as well as individual interpretation. However, these are a good working basis for the retailer to know how compliance checks work, and to be able to work with local enforcement to keep alcohol and tobacco out of the hands of minors.
MAM 6/02

Direct Shipment of Wine and How It Can Help You     

The Wyoming State Liquor Association has opposed, and defeated, the legalization of internet/mail order liquor over the last 4 years. This year, however, that opposition changed to support in a second version forwarded by the Wyoming Department of Revenue, a bill that will become law on July 1, 2001. What happened to change that position?

All previous bills only allowed the consumer to receive wine through these channels. This bill, however, allows the retailer to order non-listed product through the same means at a lower mark-up than through the state warehouse! The consumer will have a maximum ceiling (18 liters) that he can order, but the retailer will have no such limitation.

From a retailer point of view the most difficult part of competing with out-of-state wine retailers is the time to receive the product. A consumer can get his/her wine as quickly as it takes to pack and ship, whereas a retailer, if a special order is required, needs to place a special order through the state warehouse (by the case) and wait weeks for it to arrive.

This new law changes that process. It does allow consumers to order non-listed wines via the internet or mail order with a 12% fee placed on the retail price. But it also allows retailers to order wines through the same avenues, with a 12% fee added on to the wholesale price as opposed to the 17.6% mark-up applied at through the state warehouse. It means that a retailer can receive a shipment of special order wine, either by the bottle or case, as quickly as it can be delivered!

Each out-of-state shipper is required to register with the Wyoming Department of Revenue Liquor Division, pay a yearly license fee, and are responsible for the reporting and taxpaying. As part of the application process, they must provide the Liquor Division with three years of business records. It is important to remember that only wines not listed with the Liquor Division as part of it’s regular inventory may be ordered by either retailers or consumers.

This new law may not effect many retailers to a large extent, but for those who desire to receive non-listed wines in a more rapid fashion, it opens an entire new door of possibilities. For more information, call the Wyoming Liquor Division at (307) 777-7231.

Hospitality related employee FAQ information for Wyoming businesses     

Is mandatory tip pooling legal in Wyoming? No. The Wyoming Attorney General has ruled (Opinion No. 97-003, issued September 3, 1997) that mandatory tip pooling is illegal. Wyoming Statute 27-4-507 states that “Tips and gratuities by an employee or employees shall be the sole property of such…” The opinion further states that employee’s tips cannot be payable, in whole or in part, to “any other person.” The phrase “any other person” is interpreted as other employees, like dishwashers, other wait staff, busboys, or host/hostesses.

Is any form of tip pooling allowed? Voluntary tip pooling is allowed. The opinion states that “it does not prohibit employers from setting up and employees from participating in voluntary tip pooling or tip sharing arrangements.” However, tip pooling is illegal as a condition of employment, and any employee who does not pool tips cannot be forced or required to do so. The employees who do participate in tip pooling voluntarily should sign an agreement that they have agreed to do so.

What jobs can minors perform in the hospitality industry? Obviously, serving alcohol has serious restrictions with minors. However, minors can perform many restaurant functions. There are no major restaurant limitations for 16 through 20 year-olds, but 14 and 15 year-olds cannot cook or bake (except soda fountains, lunch counters, snack bar, or cafeteria serving counters although cooking can be allowed when performed in an area not separated by a partition and within a customers view). They also may not engage in occupations that involve operating or any maintenance or set-up on power-driven machinery including food slicers, grinders, choppers, and bakery-type mixers. They also may not work unloading trucks or inside a freezer or meat lockers (except momentarily).

What are the hour and time restrictions for minor employees? The standard restrictions apply to 16 to 20 year-olds as the rest of the work force. However, 14 and 15 year-olds may not be employed – during school hours, before 7 A.M. and after 7 P.M. (from June 1 through Labor Day, 14 & 15 year olds may work until 9:00 P.M.) – More than three hours a day on school days – More than 18 hours a week during a school term – More than 8 hours a day on non-school days – More than 40 hours a week during non-school weeks (“week” is defined from 12:01 A.M. Sunday to 12 midnight on Saturday).

This information is a guide, and is not to be used in lieu of consulting labor law.
If you have any questions, contact the Wyoming Department of Employment.
mam 6/02

Administrator for the Wyoming Department of Revenue Liquor Division, answers some question on the
    

Why does the Division delist a product out of the Wholesale Price Catalog?
The primary reason the state will choose to list a product is the same reason a retailer chooses to purchase a product from the Division – consumer demand. Therefore, it stands to reason the primary factor in why the Division would delist a product is lack of sales or retailer support. Just like you, we do not want to stock products in our warehouse that have limited or no demand. The industry representatives who market the product have access to sales information on all his or her products. Some months before a delist decision is made, the Division communicates with the industry representative specifically about the poor performing product. He or she is provided with sales information and told that the product is being considered for delisting. Time is given to the rep to work the product in the field, ask their supplier for additional promotional discounts or provide reasons as to why the product should be kept. Products that continue to decline in sales to a few bottles or a few cases per month even after the rep has been notified are deemed better suited as a special order product. Often the rep agrees with the Division’s delist decision. Delisting products that have little to no sales history provides room in the warehouse for new products to be listed. Such is the cycle of life!

We list close to 1,600 different products and we special order over 8, 000 different products. Logistically, 1,600 products is about all our current warehouse facility can accommodate effectively. Like you, we have a pre-determined amount of space available in which to inventory products. We make every effort to minimize ‘outs’ so product is readily available to you. We carry a little more inventory these days to compensate for supplier and shipping problems so ‘outs’ won’t occur or are short in duration if they do occur.

What is the Division’s Policy on the Post-Off Program?
For the past couple of years the Division has been evaluating options that would enhance the quality and retailer appeal of post-off incentives offered by suppliers. We asked for input from both suppliers and industry reps. Several retailers also called and provided their input. The Division took into consideration all options suggested and implemented a standard we believe will help us achieve our goal of increasing the quality of the discount. Effective August 1, 2002 any discount offered to the division must be at least 10% of the wholesale selling price of a case. There is no limit to how many times a discount can be offered. The Division will continue to pass on 100% of the discount to the retailer for the month applicable. The Division will also continue to evaluate the effectiveness of this new standard and adjustments may be needed if the goal of increasing quality and retailer appeal has not been met.

What is a sales tax hold by the Department of Revenue, and what are the stats of the Wyoming Department of Revenue Liquor Division?     

Q. What is a sales tax hold on a liquor license?

A. If a liquor licensee becomes 60 or more days delinquent in paying sales tax, the Department of Revenue Excise Tax Division will notify the Wyoming Liquor Division that the licensee is on sales tax hold. What does that mean? It means that if you fall behind on your sales tax, the Liquor Division will not sell you alcohol until you have paid all the taxes owed. You also can't transfer ownership once that process has started.

Q. We deal a lot with the Wyoming Department of Revenue, Liquor Division, including liquor and wine purchases and regulation. What are some of vital stats on the Division?

A. The original Liquor Commission was created in 1935, and we are one of the 18 "control states" (states that partially, or completely, are involved in the alcohol industry on a wholesale or retail level, or both). The Commission was absorbed into the Department of Revenue in 1996; the Governor appoints the Director of the Department of Revenue, and the Director appoints the Liquor Division Administrator. The Liquor Division is located in Cheyenne and has 31 full-time state employees.

The warehouse itself has over 112,000 square feet, and same-day shipment of listed items occurs 99.72% of the time. 1,500 different wines and spirits are available to retailers daily, and the Liquor Division sold 577,169 cases of alcohol in 2001 alone.

According to Wyoming Statute 12-2-303, the wholesale mark-up at the state warehouse cannot exceed 17.6%. Of that amount, over 80% is revenue generated to the Wyoming General Fund. In other words, of the over 45 million dollars in net sales in fiscal year 2001, almost 6.5 million dollars was profit to Wyoming. Added to the excise taxes collected, Wyoming retailers contributed over 7.6 million dollars to the state coffers, not including federal or sales taxes.

Without the excise tax included, the Wyoming Liquor Division's net profit to the General Fund was 14.17% of sales. Pretty darn good. If only retailers could turn a profit like that!

Can people that live outside of Wyoming own a liquor license?     

No…and yes.
NO: A license cannot be owned by an individual who is not a resident or "any partnership or group of two or more persons unless each individual interested, directly or indirectly, is a resident" (12-4-103), but…
YES: That doesn't include corporations. Someone from out of state can own a license in a corporation or LLC that is qualified to do business in Wyoming (not just a Wyoming corporation).

Can an individual own more than one liquor license?

No…and yes, again.
NO: Wyoming Statute 12-4-103 (b) says; "No licensing authority shall issue more than one license or permit to any one person."
YES: However, it does not forbid that individual from being in a corporation or LLC that owns more than one license.

How many liquor licenses are there in Wyoming?  

On May 15, 2001 there were 707 Retail Liquor Licenses in Wyoming….249 Restaurant Liquor Licenses (including 5 Limited Retail and County Malt Beverage Permits issued Restaurant Licenses)…126 Limited Liquor (Club) Licenses…and 19 Resort Liquor Licenses…adding to a grand total of 1,102. In addition, there are 2 winery permits, 11 Microbrewery Permits, 90 Retail County Malt Beverage Permits, and 1 Special Event Liquor Permit. So the Wyoming grand total of licenses and permits is over 1,200.

The who’s, when’s, and where’s of the liquor industry in Wyoming
     

What is the age to pour or sell alcohol in Wyoming? 21

What is the legal age to serve alcohol? 21, however, in restaurant areas, 18 (Cheyenne, 19). The only exception to serving, and pouring, alcohol is with wine; 18 (or 19 in Cheyenne) year-olds may open and pour wine at the table. They may not, however, open or pour any other alcoholic beverages.

Can a 18 (or 19 in Cheyenne) year-old serve food in the dispensing (bar) room? An employee between 18 and 20 cannot, under any circumstances, work in a dispensing room, whether it is serving food or beverages. They can enter a dispensing room to get the alcohol for service to a food service area, but they cannot work in the dispensing area.

How late, or early, can liquor establishments stay open? By state statute liquor establishments can stay open from 6:00 A.M. to 2:00 A.M. every day of the week. However, some municipalities have chosen to restrict Sunday hours of operation further by citing “home rule.”

When can I sell my last drink, and when do customers have to leave? Wyoming statute states that alcohol can be sold until closing time, and the dispensing rooms need to be cleared of non-employees 1/2 hour after closing. In other words, if a bar closes at 2:00 A.M., it can sell it’s last drink at 2:00 A.M., and all non-employees (including relatives, boyfriends, etc.) must leave the dispensing area by 2:30 A.M.

Are there any cases when minors can work in a on or off-premise business? Minors may be employed for janitorial purposes as long as the establishment is not open for business.

Can a minor enter a dispensing area when with a parent or guardian? Minors are not permitted to enter or remain in a dispensing room, except in a package liquor store when accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, unless prohibited by local ordinance. Minors are also allowed in a dispensing room until 10:00 P.M. if accompanied by a parent or guardian if the licensed room includes a waiting or dining area and with the approval of the local licensing authority (most Wyoming communities have not…check with your city or county clerk for more information).

What is the penalty for minors illegally in a dispensing area? Wyoming statute sets standard misdemeanor, 6 months jail and $750 fine, for the individual, business, and employee. However, local ordinances usually soften this, especially for first offence.

Is it legal for a 18 to 20 year old to purchase cigarettes in an off-premise business? No, unless it is a drive-up window or the minor is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian when allowed by local ordinance. Remember, however, that federal Synar stings have been particularly strict on drive-up windows and sales of tobacco to minors.
mam 6/02

Advertising in the newletter
     
Rate sheet and publication calendar available by e-mailing or calling the office at 634-8816.

Americans with Disability Act    
Booklet outlining guidelines for lodging properties
Booklet outlining guidelines for restaurant properties
Cost: $10 each-call or email office
http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm

Bad Checks     
Guide to bad check law
Bad check notification forms that can be sent to offenders
$10 for 25
Cash register stickers
Warning signs

Child Labor Law      
http://www.dol.gov/dol/compliance/comp-flsa-childlabor.htm
This Federal Government site has an online advisor for child labor law questions

Employment law     
http://wydoe.state.wy.us/ Wyo. Dept of Employment link

www.dol.gov/elaws/ -
federal laws site for the U.S. Dept. of labor

Fire safety guidelines     
State Dept. of fire prevention 307-777-7288
www.nfpa.org The national Fire Protection Association

IRS (taxes,tips,tip pooling and sharing)     
(Also see tips)
http://www.irs.gov/publications/p15/index.html

Employment Taxes     
http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/businesses/small/content/0,,id=98942,00.html
Federal IRS site dedicated to employment tax info.

Yes, Virginia, you can sell alcohol in Wyoming 24 hours straight… sort of     

Question: Is every licensee allowed to stay open for 24 hours four times per year?

Answer: W.S. 12-5-101(c) allows a licensing authority to modify the hours of operation no more than four (4) times per year to allow licensees to operate for a period of twenty-four (24) hours beginning at 6:00 a.m. during city or county fairs, rodeos, pageants, jubilees, special holidays or other similar public gatherings. Simply put this means that all licensees within a jurisdiction (city or county) may request from their local licensing authority (city or county clerks office) to allow them to operate for up to four (4) days for up to a period of twenty-four hours. All licensees within the same jurisdiction will have the same four days to be open for twenty-four hours under this statute.

Some licensing authorities may choose to only extend the hours of operation and not let the licensees within their jurisdiction be open for a full twenty-four hours. As an example the City of Cheyenne allows all licensees within their jurisdiction to be open the first and last Sunday of Cheyenne Frontier Days till the hour of 2:00 a.m. Normal hours of operation for Cheyenne licensees for Sundays are 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Local licensing authorities have this authority in law under W.S. 12-4-101(a) which states in part: “Incorporated cities, towns and counties within Wyoming shall license and regulate or prohibit the retail sale of alcoholic and malt beverages under this title….

Thanks to Tom Montoya, Chief of Enforcement for the Wyoming Department of Revenue Liquor Division, for this FAQ

What are the rules about playing poker, pull tabs and the like in Wyoming? By Mike Moser

First, this is not a legal opinion… there are different interpretations of the statutes governing poker and other games, but I will give the most common consensus of the interpretation of Wyoming law. However, if there are any gray areas, it is wise to check with local law enforcement to ensure you stay within the law. Also, there have been a few municipalities that have adopted ordinances that affect these laws, so make sure you’re playing by the rules on that as well.

Can my customers play poker? Yes… and no. Customers can play poker provided it is a “bone fide social relationship.” In simpler terms, if they are friends and customers anyway, and decide to play a casual game of poker, general opinion says that’s OK. As I elaborate more on later, there is some debate as to what involves a “bone fide social relationship”. Almost everybody agrees that a poker game in your business, provided the customers are friends and already acquainted, is legal. However, the business cannot take a cut, which includes mandates that customers “buy a round” or tip an employee with any winnings.

Almost everyone also agrees, however, that outside promotions such as radio and newspaper ads or fliers are not allowed under Wyoming law. Events such as this are likely to pull in new customers or non-acquainted people who certainly would not be in a “bone fide social relationship.” Furthermore, promotions could be considered an “enticement to business” and could run afoul of the prohibition on the business taking a direct profit, which is the same reason that a business can’t take a cut of winnings.

The grey area is on two primary issues; first, determining at what point customers establish a “bone fide social relationship”. I have always felt that the litmus test is whether the customers knew each other prior to the poker game. A few feel that a longer term relationship is necessary. My general rule regarding conducting poker in businesses is “Promotion inside the walls is OK, outside is not.” In other words, if your existing customers are participating, fine… but if the business is using outside promotion and drawing in non-customers to participate, it’s not.

The other grey area is at which point the business is making a direct versus indirect profit. You can make an indirect profit… for example, selling the customers drinks and food. However, you cannot make a direct profit, which would be directly profiting from the game itself by taking a cut, taking tips or fees or, in a stretch, advertising to increase your business. That issue was a primary target of the legislation in 2007, but some confusion still remains.

Can I have football pools or “shake-a-days?” Yes. However, you will run afoul of the law if you require the winners of such games to do anything with their winnings, such as buying a round, tipping the employees or putting their winnings toward a bar tab. That’s a direct profit, folks. However, those retailers with a shake-a-day can hold back 10% of the pot to start the next round. There’s no profit in that!

Once again, however, caution must be used to promote additional business from those activities. You can do football pools and shake-a-days, but using them as an outside promotion is getting into risky territory.

Who can have pull-tabs? Wyoming law clearly states that only a non-profit organization (such as a fraternal organization or community golf course) can have pull-tabs and related gaming devices. There are some grey areas whether a non-profit entity can rent space in a for-profit business, but the for-profit business, without a non-profit component, cannot sell pull-tabs.

Are there any Wyoming towns that are more restrictive on this issue? Not many, but yes. You certainly want to check with local law enforcement or city/county officials to determine if they are more restrictive. Of the few that are, Cheyenne is an interesting example. Cheyenne has an ordinance from almost fifty years ago that if ever enforced (which I doubt it ever was) would result in the arrest of anyone who is playing a card game with poker chips or scoring to be arrested for gambling. The Cheyenne ordinance even goes so far to allow for the arrest of anyone playing penny poker at home with their family. Although the Cheyenne City Council has tried to address straightening out this oddity in ordinances, no complete progress has been made.

Are there any other grey areas regarding this issue? Plenty. We all know that slot machines and other electronic or mechanical devices are illegal. But what about poker tables? Most of us see poker tables as a piece of furniture that you can sit drinks… or cards… at. However, some see poker tables as gambling devices. I would side with the furniture definition, and have a hard time seeing the stretch to make a table illegal.

Another grey area is whether a business can allow a “dealer” for the card games. If the dealer is one of the group of friends in our “bone fide social relationship” it’s probably fine. But what if the dealer is a bar employee, or a tipped professional dealer? That’s harder to define, but I don’t know if I would take those chances personally.

Another one: a group of friends meeting, for example, every Tuesday night for poker at a business is probably OK. But is it still a “bone fide social relationship” if they bring a friend that doesn’t know the other people? And is it OK if they set up a “poker league”? Once again, it’s a tough call… but I would be very careful about how widespread it gets. Just because one participant may know one of the group doesn’t qualify the rest as part of his social group.

What are the penalties against a liquor retailers that gets busted with illegal card games? They are very serious, and can include the loss of your liquor license. I always advise caution on any legal issue, but pushing the envelope too far on this one could be disastrous. Wyoming statute says that you can lose your liquor license if illegal gambling takes place. That’s pretty high stakes… and you’re going to need more than a four of a kind to beat that hand.


Can I have the “Beer Guys” deliver beer on Saturday and then pay for it on Monday or on my next scheduled delivery day?

NO. W.S. 12-5-402 states: “No sale or delivery of malt beverages shall be made by a wholesaler to any licensee except for payment made in full at the time of or prior to delivery, and a licensee shall not accept or receive delivery of malt beverages except when payment is made at or prior to delivery.”

Simply put, it is a violation of law to have a malt beverage delivery without paying for it at the time of delivery or before it has been delivered. This is actually a double edged sword because it is a violation for the malt beverage wholesaler, a.k.a. The Beer Guys to make a delivery without collecting payment in full and it is also a violation for the licensee to receive a malt beverage delivery without paying for it. Note: talk to your malt beverage distributor about ACH which is an electronic funds transfer.

This F.A.Q. is written by Tom Montoya, Chief of Enforcement from the Wyoming Department of Revenue Liquor Division.

Can you describe the differences between a retail, limited retail and restaurant liquor license?     

RETAIL LICENSE: Is authorized under W.S. 12-4-201 and allows the sale of alcoholic and malt beverages for both on and off-premise. The number of retail liquor licenses that can be issued by a local licensing authority is limited in statute by a population formula. This is the only license that allows for a drive through window for the off-premise sale of both alcoholic liquors and malt beverages if approved by the local licensing authority.

With a payment of an additional fee and approval from the local licensing authority a retail licensee may have an additional dispensing room within the same building. A retail liquor license may be transferred to another location within the same jurisdiction. The fee for a retail liquor license ranges between $300.00 and $1,500.00 per statute and is set by the local licensing authority.

RESTAURANT LICENSE: Is authorized under W.S. 12-4-407 and allows for the sale of alcoholic and malt beverages for on-premise consumption only. The restaurant liquor license is issued on a population formula set in statute. To qualify for a restaurant liquor license an establishment must meet the definition of a “Full Service Restaurant” in statute (W.S. 12-1-101(a) (xiv)).

Statutes also require that 60% of gross sales from the preceding twelve months must be derived from food services. The dispensing room must be separate from the dining rooms. The consumption of alcoholic liquors and malt beverages is prohibited in the dispensing room. No additional dispensing rooms are allowed with a restaurant liquor license. Transfer of location for a restaurant liquor license is prohibited.

The fee for a restaurant liquor license ranges between $500.00 and $3,000.00 per statute and is set by the local licensing authority. Although a restaurant licensee can advertise meals and related services, they cannot advertise as a bar or lounge nor can they have areas without full food service available (a bar). Another primary restriction is that they can’t utilize catering permits for outside parties for alcohol sales.

LIMITED (CLUB) LICENSE: Is authorized under W.S. 12-4-301 and allows for the consumption of alcoholic liquors and malt beverages to members and their accompanied guests only (which can be verified by law enforcement). A limited club license is prohibited from selling off-premise (packaged) liquors.

Limited club licenses may have a full lounge and with an additional fee and approval of the local licensing authority may have an additional dispensing room. Non-profits holding a limited club license (i.e.: Moose, Elks, Eagles, Shrine, Veterans clubs) may allow the sale of pull-tabs and conduct bingo games. The fee for a limited (club) license ranges between $100.00 and $1,500.00 per statute and is set by the local licensing authority.

Although a limited club license may advertise promotions and specials for activities or meal specials they can’t advertise drink specials to the general public.

What is a local licensing authority?
     

If the physical location of the establishment is located within an incorporated city/town the local licensing authority is the city/town council. Contact for this authority is through the city/town clerk’s office. If the physical location of the establishment is located outside of an incorporated city/town the local licensing authority is the Board of County Commissioners. Contact for this authority is through the county clerk’s office.