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On March 10, 2015 the Watertown Police Department conducted alcohol compliance checks at nine various on/off sale alcohol establishments in Watertown. Six of the nine businesses that were checked failed. Johnny Ringo’s Casino, Willy's and The Goldmine Casino all passed the compliance checks. 4 Seasons, 212 Casino, #1 Casino, Magic Mile Casino, Winner's Circle Casino and Foxy's Casino all failed the compliance check by selling to the underage individual. The employees that sold to the underage individual were issued citations for providing alcohol to a person age 18-20. Business owners/managers were also contacted and advised that a report of the sale would be sent to the Department of Revenue for review. Selling Alcohol to a person 18-20 years old is a Class 2 Misdemeanor in South Dakota. The maximum penalty is up to thirty days imprisonment in a county jail and/or up to a five hundred dollar fine.
Watertown Police Chief Lee McPeek said, “This is upsetting to us because we thought that our businesses were doing a good job of checking IDs and helping to control the sale of alcohol to minors. The last check we did all businesses were in compliance. In looking at previous compliance checks over the last three year we averaged 2 failed checks per year. We are not trying to trick anyone with these checks. The subjects we use look under 21 years of age and will present their ID when asked that clearly shows they are underage.”
The police department works very closely with the Watertown Healthy Youth Coalition (WHY) who works to educate businesses and provide signing, materials, training, and other resources that can help them to reinforce their commitment of not serving minors. Each business that is checked will get a letter from WHY letting them know about the resources available to them. WHY also reaches out to the businesses several times a year to offer assistance and provides different signs to coincide with the holiday events coming up to include proms and graduation. We ask that everyone helps to control the use of alcohol by our youth by not providing alcohol to minors. If you have any information about this type of illegal activity, contact the police department to report it at 882-6210.