'Free cocktails?' a dying call at casinos

By: AP
By: AP

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The quintessential Las Vegas or Atlantic City casino experience comes with card dealers in ties, feather-festooned showgirls and the most coveted amenity: the free drink.

Yet as casino gambling has migrated to middle America, the complimentary cocktail hasn't automatically survived the trip.

Ohio approved casinos last year and soon will join four other Midwestern states in banning free alcoholic drinks at the establishments.

The reasons are moral and economic.

Restaurants and bars are among the groups that have lobbied state legislatures to ban free casino drinks, saying they create an uneven playing field.

Doug Scoles heads Ohio's Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapter. He says the voter-approved free drink ban reflects old-fashioned Midwest values.

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