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October 20, 2014

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Las Vegas council eyes another curb for downtown drinking

Image

Sam Morris

A man drinks beer from a plastic cowboy boot on Fremont Street Saturday, June 30, 2012.

Las Vegas officials aim to further tighten restrictions on outdoor drinking downtown, introducing a measure next week that bans people from opening bags that contain alcohol.

The city has enacted laws meant to crack down on overdrinking. This latest effort is a follow-up to a previous amendment, adopted June 18, requiring the closure of a bag containing alcohol or package liquor on or near Fremont Street Experience. The measure will be introduced at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

The addition is meant to make it easier for police to catch those flouting the law. If bags containing alcohol cannot be opened, consumers can't use the excuse of reaching into the bag for a non-alcoholic item.

The new restrictions are meant to curtail what casino operators and street vendors see as growing chaos in the five-block tourist area. Elected officials have pointed to online complaints from people claiming to have visited the Experience saying they won’t return because it feels dangerous.

Another new ordinance prevents anyone from drinking alcohol from an original container, bottle or can, while in the area.

City officials argue casinos and bars, which sell drinks at higher prices than liquor stores, are less responsible for problems related to public drunkenness than the six souvenir shops that sell package liquor in the Fremont Street Experience.

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