Bar PONG legalities!?

This topic contains 8 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  topsecret 5 years, 10 months ago.

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    7 weeks ago my partner & I started running weekly WSOBP style cash tournaments out of a bar in our hometown. Just this past week the ABC tried to hit us for promoting excessive drinking.
    They didn’t really investigate the tournament going on, but more so walked around carding people they suspected were under age. They returned a few days later to shut us down. I unrightfully was not there to provide knowledgable representation. The bar owner folded. I acquired the number of the county ABC rep & had a heavy discussion with him. We’re still being advised to shut down shop or the bar owner could be cited or have his liquor licensed suspended. BUT with a flying “fuck it!” the bar owner has given us time to continue playing while we figure out the legalities of what we’re doing.

    So… we really just plan on doing what we’ve done all along. We play with water, we don’t enforce any drinking penalty for made or missed cups & we refer to the game and market it simply as “PONG”. This works right?

    If anyone has anything helpful to say please hit me back with sum knowledge.


    -That Guy-



    i had the same thing happen the only thing i really could tell you is the town you live in is the one that controls the local liquer commision if you can talk to them and present your case and how its no different then pool and darts tournaments, and that the tournaments are played with water not booze of any kind, they have no case. The state control when i contacted them said that was what i should do and they will take no stance on the issue. If you set up a meeting with the mayor and talk to him. make sure you got everything in writing as well



    Happened in New Mexico about a year ago. I contacted the Alcohol and Gaming Division and set up a meeting. I had to drive out to the capital and present my case. The biggest thing is comparing it to pool and darts. If they shut down pong they’d have to do the same with pool and darts. They would be wary about going against that, because then you can get your bars involved (bar owners don’t like to have their business threatened like that).

    In the end, of course, every state is different. But every time some officer or lawmaker has tried to ban beer pong in bars that I’ve ever heard about or read about has ended up in pong’s favor.



    I would also make a comparison to bowling league nights and tournaments. Although drinking (and sometimes heavy drinking) happens during league play, its not a component of the game itself. As long drinking is not a penalty or reward in the rules, then there’s really no leverage to suspend bpong in bars.



    The only real hangup they could get you on is the gambling aspect. Make sure none of your players are playing cash games (they fall under gambling for some stupid reason, though it applies to pool and dart games as well so we don’t have any argument to use against it).. In most states, offering a cash reward for a tournament is allowed, but sometimes you have to offer things like Visa gift cards to get around that rule.



    I assume your are holding tournaments in Ohio since your profile says you are from Ohio. To my knowledge there is nothing in the Ohio revised Code or the Division of Liquor Control Liquor Laws and Rules that expressly prohibits games such as water pong.

    My suggestion is to study the Liquor laws and be familiar with them before you meet with anyone. In case you do not know where to look, this is the Division of Liquor Control website The Liquor Laws for Ohio can be found on the Division of Liquor Control website in the drop down menus or you can find them here



    Well what id do is advertise as pong… str8 water in the cups. If u really wanna get the pong there bad… say the game tables wont even have a beer or anything alcohol on them. Just have the players keep drinks under table or side tables… cause simply a 8yr can play the game.. im pushing for 18 plus where I live… so if their is no alcohol at the table.. should be no problem…. I run it at 3 bars and the one bar made us keep it off the table… I think you can win.



    I live in Ohio. We are primarily running tournaments out of WV though.

    I really appreciate the assistance.



    For the gambling Laws. Gambling is considered to be games of chance (luck) so to speak. What beer pong would fall into under any state law would that it would be considered a ‘Contest’. If you look there is a segment for your state that specifies what are games of chance/contests. There are differences between the 2. Now how beer pong CANNOT be placed under the ‘gambling/contest’ laws is that it is 1. It is a sport 2. It is considered to be a game of not just chance but "Skill & Power". When skill and power are involved in a ‘contest’ (which is where beer pong is categorized) It is then instantly voided and no longer violates any gambling laws. Hoping that an ACE pops up on your card game compared to throwing a ball physically into a cup are 2 different things……As for ‘cash games’ I am in the understanding that if it is between 2 parties and NO third party is involved ( A bookie) It is not considered gambling….As for playing for cash in the regular tourny between everybody. It is 100% legal in every state inside a bar. (as long as you play with water in the cups. ) You just have to find the actual laws and show step by step how it is not illegal. These gambling laws are posted up for every states government website. It is public information. Thats how you get around that.

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