Casino taps into beer and wine sales



No big advertising campaign in advance and no fanfare at noon yesterday announced the first glasses of beer and wine served at Black Oak Casino in Tuolumne.

"We had just got here when they announced they were going to serve beer and wine for the first time," said John Thomas of Turlock about 12:30 p.m. "It's a good thing, because I already lost my money, and now I can sit and have a beer while I watch my buddies play."

About six of the estimated 300 people at the casino were observed drinking beer or wine about 12:45 p.m. yesterday.

One of them, Sally Wright of Modesto, was there after giving her new car a test drive to the foothills.

"This is my first time here," she said, "and I like the idea of being able to have a beer. I went to the Jackson casino once. I couldn't hear coins dropping, I couldn't have a beer, and it was so smoky I couldn't breathe. I never went back."

She said Black Oak Casino suits her better.

"It has coins dropping, beer to drink and a good ventilation system."

Instead of beer or wine, most gamblers yesterday had complimentary soft drinks, water or coffee as they worked the slots or blackjack tables. Those drinks are still free, but state law prohibits the casino from serving free or reduced-price alcohol.

Beer costs $2.50 a glass for domestic varieties and $3.50 a glass for imported brands. Wine is $3.25 a glass.

The casino's liquor license also allows hard liquor, but the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk, which owns the casino, has opted so far to serve only beer and wine.

Also, the liquor license allows alcohol to be served from 9 a.m. to midnight, but the tribe has chosen to limit the hours to between noon and 11:30 p.m.

"We are going to ease into serving beer and wine," said Lester Lingo, president of the tribe's economic development authority. "We live here and have families, too. The tribe can and will stop (serving) if there are problems."

The casino liquor license was approved in April by the state Alcohol Beverage Control Board, despite 190 protest letters. But the tribe waited until yesterday to actually serve alcohol.

The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Friday August 26, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Sheriff’s Office responds to critical report


The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office has responded to a grand jury report ... more

Nursed back to health, hawk flies free


Sonora resident Laura Reid was driving on Tuolumne Road when she saw ... more

Woman dies of injuries in Highway 120 accident


The woman who spent Monday night pinned in an SUV after an ... more

Convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt to remain in prison


Convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt won’t be getting out of prison anytime soon. ... more

Three rescued from wreck near Yosemite


Three German tourists were rescued Tuesday from the scene of a crash ... more