1 featured image 1
Georgia COAM Market

How to Ensure Your Patrons are NOT Underage

February 18, 2021

When it comes to running a business, especially a business with Class B COAMs to protect, it’s imperative that all aspects of your day-to-day operations stay compliant with the laws and rules outlined by the State of Georgia in addition to the Georgia Lottery Corporation (GLC). As an establishment owner, safeguarding against underage alcohol consumption and underage play on your Class B COAMs is extremely important as this is something that the State of Georgia and the GLC take very seriously. If it is discovered that underage patrons are playing your Class B COAMs or purchasing or consuming alcohol, you may be subject to fines, the loss of your liquor license and ability to sell alcohol at your establishment, the loss of your Lottery Retailer License, and/or the loss of your Location License preventing you from operating Class B COAMs. With Tom’s Amusements as your Master License Holder (MLH) it is our top priority to help you avoid these instances while making sure that all rules and regulations are met and followed at all time. To help prevent this, here is a helpful guide on what we think you should know.

Posting Signage within Your Establishment

Some of your patrons, especially those unfamiliar with Class B COAMs, may be unaware of the legal age required to play on your machines. Posting signs in and around your establishment with this information will help educate and serve as a friendly reminder before your patrons test their skill on your machines. Posting ‘Must be 21 or Over to Consume Alcohol’ and ‘Must be 18 or Over to Play on Class B COAMs’ can go a long way when it comes to your patrons following the law.

Additionally, if you are an establishment owner permitted to sell alcohol and tobacco at your location, it is a requirement to post certain signs. Click here for PDF copies of each of these signs that are to be displayed within your establishment.

  • Alcohol Pregnancy Warning Notice
  • Alcohol Retailer Warning Notice
  • Tobacco Retailer Warning Notice
  • Tobacco Vending Machine Warning Notice

For additional information on required signage needed when operating Class B COAMs, check out our blog Sign of the Time.

Verifying Identification

It’s important to learn and understand the different types of identifications that your patrons may carry. Here is a list of the most common IDs you may come across on a day-to-day basis:

  • Valid Driver’s License issued by the state
  • Valid Photo ID Card issued by the state
  • Valid Armed Forces ID
  • Valid US or foreign (with a U.S. Travel Visa) Passport with the holder’s photo.

When checking IDs, it’s important to ensure that they are valid and not expired. You should not permit the purchase of alcohol or play on your Class B COAMs if the ID is expired.

Identification is ever changing. As the technology to produce imitation IDs becomes more advanced, federal and state governments are constantly changing the look, feel and verification technology behind IDs to stay ahead. How could you possibly know all the intricacies of every state license and ID card? The ID Checking Guide has been a standard that is used at over 200,000 locations for ID verification. It’s easy to get, easy to use and worth purchasing to ensure your business’s safety. In addition, if you are wanting to go one step above, more IDs have a scannable bar code, giving you the option to purchase equipment to scan the licenses. Although this is a higher priced decision, it could save you money in the end by avoiding penalties and fines.

Card Your Patrons Hard

When it comes to checking IDs, you as a location owner may not be available or on the premise at your location at every moment. For that reason, it’s important to train your staff to always be on guard to protect your business from underage gaming or the underage purchase and/or consumption of alcohol. Don’t be afraid to ask for someone’s ID. Making sure that each individual is of age is the law. If you operate a convenience store, ID each patron before scanning their items for purchase. If you own a bar or restaurant, ID each patron as soon as they order a drink. If someone is playing on your Class B COAMs and you are unsure if they are 18 or over, calmly approach this individual and ask to see their ID to verify. An additional ID check can be performed after a patron is finished playing on one of your machines, but before redeeming their winnings. If they are under 18, educate them on the law and let them know that you are unable to allow them to redeem their winnings as they are ineligible to play on these types of machines.

Protect Your Gaming Area

We know you and your staff are busy running day-to-day operations at your establishment, and making sure your patrons leave your location satisfied and pleased with the service they’ve received. Verifying that patrons playing on your Class B COAMs are of age may be tricky as there is nothing needed on your end for a patron to begin playing, they simply just need to sit down. Make it a part of your staff’s daily route to regularly check in on your gaming area (especially if your machines are not visible from where your POS system is).

Having stanchions in addition to your age restriction signage may help serve as a visual reminder that certain patrons must stay out. Ultimately, however, checking IDs every time someone looks under 18 is never a bad idea. Taking precautions not only allows you to continue to serve and sell alcohol and operate Class B COAMs at your establishment, it also allows you to continue to grow another segment of your business: Skilled Gaming. This blog should help you strengthen the security of your business and expand your revenue streams. It’s important to always know and adhere to all laws and rules outlined by the State of Georgia and the GLC to ensure your location a long and fruitful relationship with your Class B COAMs.