Beer Sales And The Big Game

Tuesday, October 2nd 2007, 4:42 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Oklahoma football fans might be more sober than their Texas counterparts when the Sooners and Longhorns play later this week at the Cotton Bowl.

Because of the way some State Fair of Texas concessionaires interpret state law, Oklahomans who travel to Dallas for the Red River Rivalry game might have trouble buying beer and other alcoholic beverages in the area surrounding the stadium.

Ron Black, the vice president of food service at the State Fair of Texas, said Tuesday there have been no changes this year in the fair's policy regarding alcohol sales.

But he did acknowledge that some fair vendors are choosing not to sell alcohol to people who appear younger than 30 and present out-of-state identification, such as an Oklahoma driver's license, even though such sales would not violate Texas law if the purchaser was 21 or older.

``It's a very complicated situation, but nothing has changed from the past,'' Black said.

If Oklahomans have had no trouble buying alcohol at the Texas fair in previous years, ``they shouldn't have trouble this year,'' he said.

Officials say the apparent confusion stems from Texas' strict laws regarding alcohol sales to minors.

Carolyn Beck, a spokeswoman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, said that under state law, if a vendor sells an alcoholic beverage to someone under 21, the vendor has not violated the law if the person buying the alcohol presented what appeared to be valid Texas identification.

That same protection does not apply if the purchaser presented out-of-state identification, leading to reluctance on the part of some vendors to sell to anyone showing out-of-state identification, Beck said. She said the issue is raised frequently by military personnel based in Texas who do not have Texas identification.

Under Texas law, selling alcohol to a minor who did not present what appeared to be valid Texas identification is a misdemeanor that could result in a fine of up to $4,000 and a year in jail.

Minors who possess, consume, attempt to purchase or purchase alcohol, or who misrepresent their age to try and purchase alcohol, could face a $500 fine and the suspension of their driver's license for 30 days, Beck said.

``The problem with the Texas-OU game in part is not only do you have a lot of people in the Dallas area without a Texas driver's license, but you also have a lot of people in Dallas who are not 21,'' Beck said. ``You have to be especially vigilant at events like this.''

No. 10 Oklahoma will play No. 19 Texas on Saturday in the 102nd meeting between the archrivals. The teams have met each year in Dallas since 1929, with the game played at the Cotton Bowl since the stadium opened in 1932.

Black said more than 100 fair vendors sell alcohol. He said fair policy requires vendors to ask for identification from anyone who appears to be under 30.

``If they ask for an ID and it's not a Texas ID, the server can elect not to serve,'' Black said.

He said the issue regarding out-of-state identification ``occasionally comes up'' around the time of the Oklahoma-Texas game, but ``if you're of age and have proper ID, you shouldn't have any difficulty being served.''