Kroger Expands Wine Sales

Over the weekend one of our staff members captured this photo at a Kroger store in the North Little Rock area. It shows the expanded wine selection the store now sells under a law the Arkansas Legislature passed last spring.

According to our staff member, this section of the store “was all baby food and diapers, from one end down the other” before Kroger converted it into a wine section.

Why Does This Matter?

Many are concerned that this could set the stage for legislation down the road letting grocery stores in Arkansas sell hard liquor the way grocery stores in states like Missouri do.

Prior to this year, grocery stores in wet counties were generally limited to selling a few wines produced by small farms in Arkansas. Act 508 of 2017 lets grocery stores sell wines from other states, like California.

Last spring we said Act 508 would simply mean more alcohol in stores where children and families shop. It appears that prediction has come true.

You May Want to Know About These Two Bills

I want to let you know about a couple of bills filed at the Capitol in Little Rock this week that may concern many Arkansans.

The first bill is Senate Bill 745. It amends Arkansas’ so-called “Chuck-E-Cheese Law” by increasing the maximum value of each prize a person may claim for playing coin-operated games.

You’re probably familiar with businesses like Chuck-E-Cheese that allow children to win tickets by playing coin-operated games like skee ball; the tickets can be redeemed for toys or other prizes.

In the mid-1990’s the Arkansas legislature passed a law intended to let family-oriented businesses like Chuck-E-Cheese offer small prizes for these games without allowing full-fledged casinos in Arkansas. To do so, the legislature capped the maximum value of each prize the business offers at $12.50.

Currently, family-oriented businesses like Chuck-E-Cheese may let people play coin-operated games for prizes, provided that the prizes are worth no more than $12.50. S.B. 745 raises that maximum value from $12.50 to $850.