Investigators for the Vermont Department of Liquor Control discovered members drinking alcohol past 2:30 a.m. and gambling more than $1,000 during a poker game. As punishment, the club will not be able to serve alcohol for two days in April and will have to pay a $500 fine. The club’s lawyer said poker games are no longer allowed on the premises.
The Vermont Department of Liquor Control has reached a settlement with the Burlington (Vt.) Country Club after investigators discovered club members drinking after hours and gambling over $1,000, WPTZ-TV Burlington reported.
The agreement was presented on December 2 to the Liquor Control Board. The director of enforcement said an investigator witnessed a poker game and drinking after 2:30 a.m., which violated the state’s liquor laws, WPTZ-TV reported.
“The law says that you can’t serve anyone past 2 a.m. and drinks served right before 2 a.m. they have until 2:30 a.m. to consume those drinks,” Bill Goggins said. “Because they are a solid licensee it doesn’t give them the right to violate the state’s laws and regulations. We handle that the way we handle some of our problem establishments.”
Through a window shade, with a camera, a department of liquor control investigator captured club members drinking mixed drinks and exchanging hands on August 28. The investigator watched for over 40 minutes before he pulled out his flashlight to get the bartenders attention and be let in. He talked with the players that night as well as Jedman Snow, the server. A few days later the investigator sat down with the 22-year-old bartender who told him members played poker every other week, sometimes until 3:30 a.m., WPTZ-TV reported.
The employee said about 10 people frequent poker night. On this occasion there were seven. According to Snow, the staff was not fully aware the members played with money. “I’ve never seen money change hands, but of course I’ve heard plenty of things…such as ‘my buddy went this low underneath’ or ‘he won this much.’ That kind of thing, from the members the next day.”
Norman Blais, the club’s attorney, said the club’s governing board didn’t know what was going on after hours until the investigation. He said because Snow misunderstood when he had to cut off alcohol consumption, in addition to being suspended for two weeks, he had to retake a course in order to serve alcohol again, WPTZ-TV reported.
Goggins said he hopes this case sends a message to others. “Nobody wants to say I got a penalty for violating the regulations, so hopefully that’s going to be a deterrent moving forward and to any other licensee who this activity may be occurring on their premises that we haven’t detected or someone hasn’t said this is happening.”
The club will not be able to serve alcohol on April 1 or April 2. It will also have to pay a $500 fine. Blais said poker games are no longer allowed at the club, WPTZ-TV reported.