Community Action for Capable Youth offered training and education for vendors of alcohol and tobacco last week to educate them on various topics including liquor laws, identifying false identification, employment of minors and penalties for violations.
CACY partners at least twice a year with local law enforcement and METRICH, the 10 county drug task force, to review local vendors to see if the clerk will sell alcohol or tobacco to an underage person. A person must be age 18 to purchase tobacco and age 21 to buy alcohol.
The most recent review was October 21, said CACY Director Tracee Anderson. The group reviewed 55 area businesses of which five were found in violation.
Anderson said the training is provided to make sure the vendors stay informed as to the specifics to the law and any changes that have occurred. She further noted that the training provides an opportunity for vendors to ask questions as well.
Businesses that were in violation were not mandated to attend the luncheon, which made for a light turnout in attendees.
Karen Russo, who was with the Ohio Lottery’s Community Outreach and Problem Gambling department, talked about the lottery and how to spot a problem gambler.
“We hope to help (the business) learn to identify those that are at risk or might have a problem with gambling and supply them with the helpline number or information because there’s help available and treatment facilities available,” said Russo.
Russo said a study was completed before the casinos were recently built around the state, and Ohio has an eight percent average – or 250,000 people – have a gambling problem in the state.
“But there’s a much higher number of at risk individuals associated with problem gambling,” she said.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission, the Racing Commission and the Ohio Lottery, Russo said, are working on a collaborative grassroots effort called Ohio for Responsible Gambling which gets information to local mental health providers and local businesses about the prevention of gambling and help for those who may have a problem.
“Gambling can be fun and the majority of the population can enjoy it and set their limits and have a good time,” she said. “But most often with problem gambling there’s other co-occurring addictions going on. Typically there is financial trouble, and alcohol or drugs might be involved.”
Russo said there are 114 Ohio Lottery retailers in Richland County.
“There were $27 million in the county last year,” she said.
Agent Curtis Hundley, and investigator with the Ohio Department of Public Safety Investigative Unit, spoke about the rules and regulations concerning tobacco and alcohol.
“The message we want to get across is take a little time and effort to check the ages of the people you sell to,” he said. “We also hope they will take a little time to review the laws and regulations, because they’re online, and if you have any questions, don’t guess. Just call us.”
Hundley said Ohio is a controlled state which means the age of a person trying to buy alcohol or tobacco must be verified before they can be sold alcohol or tobacco.
“We don’t want people out here causing accidents or people underage who are consuming alcoholic beverages,” he said. “We just want you to be aware of what’s going on out here in your own community.”
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem call the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966 or visit Ohio for Responsible Gambling at www.org.ohio.gov.
Department of Public Safety: www.dps.state.oh.us or call 1-877-4MINORS to report any suspected alcohol or tobacco violations.