Patchogue Bar Draws Ire Over Bets on Shootings

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This betting pool at The Cliffton in Patchogue has sparked controversy.

A bar in Patchogue is drawing ire after critics say it invited patrons to bet on whether more shootings will occur in New York City or Chicago over Labor Day weekend.

The Cliffton, a self-described dive bar on Main Street in the village’s downtown, devised a box pool — similar to Super Bowl score gambling pools — so customers could place their bets on which of the two cities will suffer more shootings amid a recent crime wave.

“Let the shoot sprees begin!” the bar wrote in a post on its Instagram page, a screen grab of which was sent to the Press.

It’s not the first time the bar has sparked controversy. Last year, it issued an apology for making fun of a transgender patron in another online post that prompted protesters to rally outside the bar.

“This is the kind of place that needs to be boycotted,” said the Long Island chapter of the nonprofit Brady: United Against Gun Violence gun control advocacy group that called for an investigation into the bar.

Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri, noting that gambling in bars is illegal, said he’s asking the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) to get involved.

“It’s not going to be tolerated,” Pontieri told WNBC-TV, adding that wagered on violent crime is “foolish at best and disgusting at its worse.”

The SLA, which called the pool “sickening,” said before it received the betting complaint, when investigators visited The Cliffton to check compliance with social distancing rules intended to curb the spread of coronavirus, the bar refused to let authorities inside.

The agency said the refusal constitutes “a blatant violation of the law, which alone constitutes grounds for their liquor license to be revoked. This establishment will be charged for the violation we have already observed and can expect to hear from us again.”

The Cliffton could not be reached for comment.

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This screen grab shows the Instagram post at The Cliffton that advertised the shooting pool.

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