Bell Centre gets OK to serve beer for Habs' away games

The Bell Centre has been given the green light to serve beer while broadcasting Montreal Canadiens away games on the jumbotron, to the dismay of bar owner Peter Sergakis.

Quebec liquor and gaming board says live broadcast counts as live event

The Bell Centre and its resident promoter, Evenko, were within their rights to serve beer during televised Montreal Canadiens games, ruled the liquor board. (Elias Abboud/CBC)

The Bell Centre has been given the green light to serve beer while broadcasting Montreal Canadiens away games on the jumbotron, to the dismay of bar owner Peter Sergakis.

The Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux ruled on Wednesday that a complaint lodged by Sergakis on behalf of the Quebec Bar Owners’ Association was offside.

He complained in May after the Bell Centre opened up its doors to 21,000 eager patrons during Game 7 of the Montreal Canadiens-Boston Bruins playoff series, saying that the arena presented unfair competition for the bars in the area.

The Bell Centre is allowed to serve alcohol during live events held at the arena. However, Sergakis argued that broadcasting a live event happening elsewhere was not actually a live event.

The province, however, disagreed this week, ruling that its 1974 liquor permit law was broad enough to include broadcasting of a live game under its definition of live events.

The Quebec Bar Owners’ Association said allowing the Bell Centre to serve beer during broadcast games and events will continue to be unfair for the bars in the area.

It also questioned the cost of deploying more than 500 police officers to the area around the Bell Centre as a public security measure following the game.

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