Editorial: The drive for more liquor sales

Oklahoma is one of the top three states for gambling and now the Sooner State is racing to be No. 1 in liquor sales per capita.

The proof is that most Oklahoma counties that don’t approve liquor-by-the-drink are being economically forced to expand the sale of alcohol.

Harper, Ellis, Caddo, Jefferson and other counties don’t allow liquor by the drink and you can only buy beer with 3.2-percent alcohol. But since Oklahomans voted to allow convenience stores, groceries, pharmacies and others to sell wine and hard beer, beer producers are going to stop making 3.2 beer for sale in Oklahoma.

So, it’s OK to pass a law to allow the hard stuff or go dry.

On October 1, 2018, only strong beer will be available in the state. It’s estimated that hundreds of retailers in Tulsa will start stocking the hard beer and wine to take advantage of the rush to get Oklahomans to drink more booze.

County and municipal governments think they will get rich from the upturn in alcohol sales. They are not factoring in the social cost of increase alcoholism, underage drinking and drunk driving. Those are bound to increase when hard liquor is available everywhere.

If these holdout counties pass liquor-by-the-drink, and they surely will, their citizens won’t have to drive to one of the 130 casinos in Oklahoma to get drunk. They can stop by the local convenience store and get ice-cold hard beer or go to the local grocery and buy a gallon of cheap wine.

Gambling and drunkenness – what a combination. Maybe it’s time to reconsider Oklahoma as part of the Bible Belt.