Cotton County residents to decide on 'Liquor by the Drink'

COTTON CO., OK (KSWO) - Liquor by the drink, it's something that 63 counties in Oklahoma have already passed, but there are 14 that haven't. Cotton County is one of those counties, and voters will be deciding on June 26th about whether or not they'll allow liquor and soon high-point beer to be sold at restaurants, casinos, and bars.

State Question 792, which allows for high point beer to be sold, goes into effect October first. It will eliminate the three-point-two percent beer that's currently sold in Oklahoma. Counties across the state have to pass a resolution to sell the higher point beer by the drink at an establishment.

The question has already been presented to Cotton county residents twice. In 2009, it failed by 29 percent, and in 2013 it failed by 15 percent.

"It's just not something I support being a Christian man and a believer," resident Micah Lipscomb said.

While some residents like Lipscomb don't like it, Rockin H Land & Cattle Co. Steakhouse owner Robert Hale hopes it will get passed because he said not offering any alcohol could hurt his business in Temple.

"It would probably force us to relocate to a different county," Hale said. "We'd be looking at going to a different county because we're a steakhouse. People come here, and they want to have a drink, a glass of wine, and something like that. It would be horrible for our business."

Whether or not it passes could also have an impact on the casinos located in Devol. James Laporte, the Chief Operating Officer of the Kiowa casinos, said not having it would affect their business too. He said more than 90% of their guests are from Texas.

"Having an adult beverage goes hand and hand with gambling and the entertainment aspect that we offer here in the county and I think people would look elsewhere," Laporte said. "It would hurt our business if it didn't pass.

Lipscomb understands that the county needs all the tax dollars they can get but wants to find another way to generate revenue. He's a father to six and that also plays a factor into his opposition.

"I'd hate to think that I supported liquor by the drink and get a call some night that my daughter or son was involved in an accident and somebody had just left the restaurant and had been drinking liquor by the drink," Lipscomb said. 'Therefore, I am not in support of liquor by the drink."

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