Indianapolis relaxes alcohol sales laws ahead of the Super Bowl

3:34 PM, Jan 9, 2012   |    comments
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The biggest change is that retail permit holders will be able to sell alcohol on Super Bowl Sunday and the Sunday prior, within the downtown Super Bowl zone.

Restaurants and vendors with permits will now be able to serve alcohol inside and outside their establishments and party tents, allowing customers to roam freely with their beverages in the Super Bowl zone each day from 7 a.m. until 3 a.m. the next morning.

An exception for Sunday sales will also be allowed, but for on-premise drinking only.

Despite the relaxed availability of alcohol, State Excise Police say they won't be lax in enforcing Indiana law.

Priorities include:

- Preventing the sale and availability of alcohol to minors
- Preventing the sale and availability of alcohol to intoxicated persons
- Preventing the sale and availability of tobacco to juveniles
- Enforcing other criminal violations.

"We actually have the ability to house hundreds more, so we are prepared," said Capt. Mike Hubbs, Marion County Sheriff's Department.

The sheriff's department is in charge of handling those nabbed for disorderly conduct, public intoxication or other crimes.

A visit to Dallas for last year's Super Bowl gave jail officials a closer look.

"We prep for the worst, meaning a mass arrest," Hubbs said. "It's not what people would think. Arrests are usually minimal."

Like other Super Bowl cities, a contingency lock-up for mass arrests is in place, but Hubbs isn't divulging specifics.

"No, we're not going to disclose where it is, I can tell you it would be in a sheriff's controlled environment, we have control of it," Hubbs said.

For major racing events in Speedway, the drinking has been contained to areas that some describe as organized chaos.

"The first and foremost goal is to ensure that safety and also the preservation of one's property that people's property is not being damaged because of the bad behavior," Speedway Police Lt. Trent Theobald said.

Police will be making sure the retailers in the Super Bowl zone downtown have proper permits and approved server training.

Restaurants have had to file questionnaires and amended floor plans for outdoor tents and patios.

Sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption away from the Super bowl zone premises - a one-mile radius around Lucas Oil Stadium - will not be allowed after 3 a.m. on Sundays until 7a.m. Monday.

The bottom line, law enforcement officials say they want people to have a good time, but act responsibly.

(Copyright © 2012 NBC Universal, All Rights Reserved)

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