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April 12, 2022

Maine stadiums will soon find it easier to sell liquor

FILE photo / Jim Neuger Portland's Hadlock Field has no immediate plans to sell liquor despite the new measure advancing through the Legislature.

Large outdoor stadiums in Maine will soon be able to sell liquor more easily, in addition to beer and wine, under a bill passed last week by the Maine Legislature.

The bill, LD 2031, from House Majority Leader Michelle Dunphy, D-Old Town, amends the liquor licensing laws governing outdoor stadiums to allow the venues to serve spirits at all times. 

Under previous law, stadiums needed to seek new permits for each event if they want to sell hard-alcohol beverages. The new bill streamlines the process, freeing stadiums with more than 3,000 seats to sell liquor.

The change would apply to Hadlock Field in Portland, the Maine Savings Amphitheater, the city-owned concert venue in Bangor, and the Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford. 

The Portland Sea Dogs do not have plans to sell liquor this season, but may consider it in the future, Geoff Iacuessa, president and general manager of the state's only professional baseball team, told Mainebiz.

Typically, legislation does not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies, such as this bill. That means arenas could begin to serve alcohol immediately upon the legislation being signed.

The approval of this measure follows another bill loosening liquor restrictions. Lawmakers last month approved a bill allowing restaurants to sell to-go alcoholic beverages until 2025. The measure, which had been started in the pandemic as a way to help restaurants survive, was slated to end in September. 

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