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Plan For Hard Liquor In Arenas Withdrawn

A coalition of pro sports teams and stadium operators has dropped its attempt to get the state to allow hard liquor to be served in the stands, saying the opposition was too strong.

“We felt this issue was becoming very divisive,” said Becky Bogard, a lobbyist for the group that includes the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners, racetracks and several large arenas.

The state Liquor Control Board has received hundreds of letters from the public on the proposal, with nearly all against the idea, said board spokesman Greg Nordlund.

The proposal also was unpopular with the Legislature, which is considering tougher drunken-driving laws.

“You give 60,000 people all the Jack Daniels they want and then send them out on the road, you’re gonna have a problem,” said Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish.

Even stronger opposition came from residents and business associations near Seattle’s KeyArena, Kingdome and the new football and baseball stadiums being built south of Pioneer Square.

Faced with such opposition, the Responsible Alcohol Management Coalition, the industry group behind the plan, gave up.

“We have decided to end this debate,” said a news release from the coalition that includes the Seahawks, Mariners, Emerald Downs racetrack, KeyArena, Kingdome, Service America, Spokane Arena, Tacoma Dome, Tri-Cities Coliseum and Yakima Sun Dome.

Beer is allowed in the stands at the stadiums; hard liquor is available in stadium bars and private boxes. The proposal was to allow people to take drinks to their seats.

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