New Downtown Alcohol Ordinances, Fremont Street Experience

You’ve seen it once. You’ve seen it a thousand times. Drunken shenanigans on Freemont Street. Whether it be tourists from Kansas City in town for a bachelor party, local Zappos techies celebrating the weekend, or spandex-wearing eccentric wanders talking to themselves with margaritas in hand, Downtown Las Vegas takes all kinds.
The problem, as observed by the Las Vegas City Council, is the escalation of aggressive behaviors occurring on the Fremont Street Experience due to the abundance of cheap booze coupled with obnoxious souvenir hustlers, photograph takers, and other vendors and performers looking to make a quick buck off the wobbling drunkards.
As reported by the LVRJ, Derek Stevens, CEO of the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate, told the council, “I don’t want to belabor what we’re seeing on TripAdvisor.” Stevens was referring to a barrage of comments left on the popular travel site/blog by individuals who said they’d never return to downtown Las Vegas because it was so disgustingly sleazy.
Also reported by the LVRJ, Boyd Gaming lobbyist Russell Rowe, commented on the low return rate of Hawaiian visitors to Las Vegas. “The bottom line is our Hawaiian guests are not flying back and if they do, they’re not staying downtown,” Rowe said.
The council discussed an alcohol ordinance which included some of the following, as they relate to downtown Las Vegas, specifically, Freemont Street:
■ No single servings of alcoholic candy, jello shots or other products not considered beverages can be sold.
■ No containers of malt liquor and beer larger than 32 ounces can be sold.
■ No beer higher than 11 percent alcohol can be sold.
■ No hard liquor less than one pint, known as “minis,” can be sold.
■ Advertising restrictions.
■ Signs must be posted saying that package liquor cannot be consumed on Fremont Street.
In an upcoming ordinance, the council will decide whether or not to ban all alcohol containers except for plastic ones.
But the most challenging ordinance to address may prove to be the issue of street performers, some of them barely clothed. Legal decisions in the past have claimed the performers cannot be banned from Fremont Street due to 1st Amendment rights. However, if safety becomes an issue, this ordinance will easily be on the table for reconsideration.

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