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After being snubbed on bar and grill license, Wyoming Downs could get superior Casper liquor rights

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CASPER, Wyo. — While the Casper City Council in August rejected Wyoming Downs’ request for a bar and grill liquor license, the company could instead get a liquor license that would mean greater freedom to sell alcohol at its “Blue Roof” location.

Before the city council issued a decision on the bar and grill license, Eric Nelson with Wyoming Downs told the council that the company expected to generate about $275,000 less in tax revenues if the Blue Roof had only a restaurant liquor license instead of a bar and grill license.

However, with Wyoming Bootlegger Liquor going out of business, Wyoming Downs could potentially come into control of one of Casper’s full retail liquor licenses. The Casper City Council is expected to consider a request to transfer control of Retail Liquor License No. 21 from Wyoming Bootlegger Liquor to Wyoming Downs on October 5.

In estimating the amount of tax revenue that the Wyoming Downs Blue Roof location would generate, Nelson told the city council in August that the company expected to generate about $125,000 per year through the new sports wagering lounge at the former Sidelines Bar and Grill location.

With a bar and grill license, Nelson said Wyoming Downs expected that tax revenue figure would jump to $400,000. Wyoming Downs has signed a contract with BetMGM to offer mobile sports wagering, taking advantage of a new law legalizing online sports wagering and fantasy sports contests in Wyoming. The new law will open a market that the Wyoming Gaming Commission estimates could be around $449 million.

There are a variety of liquor licenses available to businesses in Casper and each comes with its own restrictions. Retail liquor licenses offer businesses the greatest flexibility.

Retail liquor licenses allow a business to operate a walk-up bar and allow sales for off-premise consumption of alcohol products. These licenses can be jointly held with other license types.

Retail liquor licenses allow businesses to sell any type of legal alcoholic product and have no requirement that the business also sell food.

Bar and grill licenses, on the other hand, require that 60% of the business’s sales come from food rather than alcohol. While bar and grill licenses also allow businesses to sell beer, wine and hard liquor and allow walk-up bars, sales cannot include packaged liquor for off-premise consumption.

Restaurant liquor licenses don’t allow a business to operate a walk-up bar and require that 60% of sales come from food rather than alcohol. Unlike bar and grill licenses, restaurant liquor licenses don’t allow alcohol sales to continue after full food service has ended.

There are four other types of liquor permits: microbrewery permits, winery permits, satellite permits and resort liquor license permits.

Microbrewery permits are for the sale of malt beverages only and winery permits only allow for the sale of wine. These permits are available to businesses which make their own products. In other respects, these permits are largely similar to retail liquor license permits, with the caveat that there are limits on how much alcohol can be sold for off-premise consumption.

Satellite permits are available to businesses which manufacture their own products that want to serve that alcohol at another location, sometimes referred to as a “tasting room.”

Resort liquor licenses are available to hotels and are similar to full retail liquor licenses with the exception that they don’t allow for the sale of package liquor.

The number of liquor licenses available in Casper is determined by state statute and the city’s population. Casper can have:

  • Up to 36 retail liquor licenses
  • Up to 14 bar and grills licenses
  • Unlimited restaurant liquor licenses
  • 36 microbrewery or winery permits
  • An unlimited number of resort liquor licenses

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