Vons Monopoly does not pass go for the ABC

By Jake Lee Green
Kern Valley Sun

Have you ever gone through the check-out line at the Lake Isabella Vons and been asked if you’d like Monopoly tickets? I’m sure you have if you frequent the chain store who holds the board game themed sweepstakes annually. The retail giant recently found itself in trouble on October 1, 2019 with the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) for violations related to the themed game. The Monopoly game is promoted through Albertsons LLC, The Vons Companies, Inc. and Safeway Inc.

In 2018, the companies gave away premiums, gifts, and free goods in relation to the sale and marketing of alcoholic beverages. In the state of California that is a violation of law. The ABC announced that the companies have agreed to pay out $600,000 after an investigation was conducted by the department. Of which, $300,000 is to be paid within a months’ time and the other half delayed if the companies can refrain from engaging in similar behavior for two years.

The 2018 Monopoly promotion that initially caught the eye of the ABC was in regards to advertisements for beer by MillerCoors who encouraged players to participate by enticing them with prizes if certain products produced by the beer company were purchased. 599 stores were subject to discipline by the ABC who prohibit the giving away of prizes in connection with the marketing of alcoholic beverages. ABC director Jacob Applesmith states, “Today’s action reinforces commitment to regulate a fair and healthy market place where all licensees play by the same rules. This particular violation gave these retailers a competitive advantage by offering consumers a gift or premium for purchasing alcoholic beverage products.”
This decisions came from the investigation held by the ABC which showed that the companies violated the Professions Code sections 24200, 25600, and California Code of Regulations, title 4, section 106.