New York Governor Fueling Bills Mafia With Liquor Law Change

With Buffalo playing in London early Sunday, some sports bars can serve as early as 8 a.m.

Fans react during a game between the Bills and Dolphins.
Buffalo fans are going to be able to get after it early on Sunday.
Bryan Bennett/Getty

If there was ever any doubt about her being a member of the Bills Mafia, New York Governor Kathy Hochul erased it earlier this week by using her power to make it easier for Buffalo fans to start drinking early on Sunday morning when their team takes on the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.

Under current state law in New York, bars and restaurants cannot begin serving alcohol until 10 a.m. on Sundays and liquor stores can’t open until noon. While the liquor stores aren’t getting any help from Governor Hochul, bars and restaurants that will be catering to Bills fans and the occasional Jaguar supporter will get a two-hour jump this Sunday as long as they apply for a special permit with the State Liquor Authority.

“With the Buffalo Bills playing across the pond on Sunday morning, I know fans will be gathering for the big game & may fancy a pint,” Hochul posted on social media. “I’m directing the State Liquor Authority to extend the deadline for special permits, so sports bars & restaurants can serve as early as 8am.”

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Establishments that are awarded the special permits will be able to get in 90 minutes of business before the Bills and Jaguars kick off at 9:30 a.m. Known for breaking tables and fornicating in pickup trucks with spicy wings galore while tailgating in Buffalo, Bills Mafia may not have needed the extra time at the bar so early on a Sunday, but Governor Hochul is giving her people what they want.

In addition to hooking Bills Mafia up with some extra time for early-morning boozing, the Buffalo native helped push through a deal that will finance a new $1.4 billion stadium in Orchard Park with $600 million from New York State. The construction of the stadium, which is projected to create more than 10,000 jobs for union workers, will also be financed by a combined $550 million from the NFL and Bills and $250 million from Erie County.

“I went into these negotiations trying to answer three questions – how long can we keep the Bills in Buffalo, how can we make sure this project benefits the hard-working men and women of Western New York and how can we get the best deal for taxpayers?” Governor Hochul said when the deal was announced in March of 2022. “I’m pleased that after months of negotiations, we’ve come out with the best answers possible – the Bills will stay in Buffalo for another 30 years, the project will create 10,000 union jobs and New Yorkers can rest assured that their investment will be recouped by the economic activity the team generates.”

The Bills (3-1) are favored by 5.5 points against the Jags (2-2), who also played in London last weekend.

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