For many casual dart players, having a pint in one hand and a set of darts in the other is part of the fun of playing the game. However, at the professional level, rules around drinking alcohol while competing can be more complex.
Are Dart Players Allowed to Drink Alcohol? Professional dart players that play in the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), World Darts Federation (WDF), and British Darts Organisation (BDO) are not allowed to drink any alcohol during professional dart tournaments. Amateur dart players can typically drink alcohol in most amateur dart leagues as long as there is not a specific rule outlawing it or it’s not an official match put on by the PDC, WDF, or BDO.
This comprehensive guide will explore whether dart players are allowed to drink alcohol during tournaments and matches, looking at the rationale behind various policies.
The History of Darts and Alcohol
Drinking and dart throwing have been closely linked since the early days when the game developed in English pubs and taverns. It was common for dart players to consume ample amounts of alcoholic drinks over the course of a game. In casual pub matches, players would drink alcohol while competing and socializing.
The activity centered around pub life and drinking as much as the game itself. Legendary professional dart players like Eric “The Crafty Cockney” Bristow, Andy Fordham, John Lowe, and Alan Evans built reputations not just for their skill at hitting triples and doubles, but also for their seemingly superhuman ability to drink copious amounts of beer during marathon matches.
Drinking was intrinsically tied to the atmosphere and culture of darts.
Drinking Policies in Professional Darts Organizations
The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), World Darts Federation (WDF), and British Darts Organisation (BDO) each set their own codes of conduct around drinking during events. Here are the key regulations:
Professional Darts Corporation (PDC)
- Alcohol consumption during matches is strictly prohibited.
- No alcohol is allowed on stage or in the practice room.
- Drinking is only permitted in specified areas off stage.
- Alcohol cannot be brought into venues. Drinks must be purchased on-site.
- Visibly drunk patrons will be ejected without a refund.
World Darts Federation (WDF)
- Drinking alcohol while playing is prohibited.
- No alcohol can be brought to the venue by players or fans.
- Drinks must be purchased from authorized sellers at the venue.
- Sales will be halted 30 minutes before the end of a session.
- Visibly intoxicated participants may be ejected without a refund.
British Darts Organisation (BDO)
- Playing while intoxicated is forbidden and punishable.
- No alcohol is permitted in the staging area.
- Alcohol may only be consumed in designated areas away from match courts.
- Sales will be stopped at a reasonable time before the end of a session.
- Drunk individuals can be refused entry or ejected.
As shown, all organizations allow venue alcohol sales but impose restrictions around drinking locations, cut-off times, intoxication, bringing outside alcohol, and prohibiting drinking while playing. Fines, disqualifications, or bans can result from violations.
Are There Any Exceptions to Drinking Rules at Pro Dart Events?
The formal policies are very clear – drinking while actively throwing darts in a tournament or match is forbidden across all major dart leagues and events.
However, there are a couple of exceptions:
- Exhibition matches – Non-serious promotional events are not usually subject to all competition rules, so drinking may be allowed.
- Special occasions – Some low-key league games, charity events, or celebrations may relax policies at the organizer’s discretion.
But aside from these informal situations, players cannot drink alcohol immediately before or during judged competitive matches. The standard rules are strictly enforced for player safety and game integrity.
Can Amateur Dart Players Drink While They Play Leagues and Tournaments?
Today, while the association between darts and drinking remains, attitudes towards alcohol consumption during competitive play have evolved significantly, particularly at the professional level.
Let’s first examine the regulations for amateur league players who participate primarily in local pubs and taverns. For recreational players, drinking alcohol during matches and tournaments is generally permitted, though there are some moderate restrictions in place in certain leagues and tournaments.
The majority of casual leagues and competitions, especially those based around social play in pubs, do not prohibit alcohol consumption outright during play. After all, allowing players to enjoy drinks from the bar is part of the public house environment. However, even at this amateur level, there are often rules about excessive drinking during games.
For example, the Southern California Darts Association’s guidelines clearly state “No player will consume excessive amounts of alcohol or become obviously intoxicated during tournament play.” Other leagues follow similar policies of restricting extreme inebriation but still permitting moderate social drinking.
Safety, maintaining an orderly tournament environment, and promoting a sense of professionalism are reasons amateur leagues place any limits on alcohol consumption during matches.
But on the whole, recreational dart players can enjoy alcoholic drinks while competing in most leagues and tournaments as long as they drink responsibly. Moderation is encouraged, but drinking alcohol is still considered part of the culture and fun.
Why Do Rules About Drinking Exist in Dart Competitions?
Most organized dart competitions have some regulations regarding alcohol consumption during matches. Several motivations underlie the alcohol ban during professional tournaments and matches.
First, prohibiting drinking provides a more professional appearance for pro darts as it has grown into a serious televised sport and multi-million dollar industry. Having visibly drunk players competing wouldn’t convey the right image.
Second, player safety is a major reason, as organizers do not want intoxicated players to injure themselves or others with pointed darts. Third, organizers cite a desire for players to compete using maximum skill and ability, without alcohol impacting performance and focus.
As sixteen-time World Champion Phil Taylor explained to the BBC, “We’re professional sportsmen now so you have to sacrifice certain things for that, the drinking culture is one of them.” Overall, the PDC alcohol regulations reflect a shift towards presenting darts as a skillful athletic endeavor rather than just an amusing pub pastime.
Drinking Culture in Darts Evolves
In conclusion, while casual amateur dart players generally can still drink alcohol moderately during matches, particularly in pub leagues, professionals playing in PDC televised tournaments are completely banned from drinking alcohol before and during games and face strict penalties for violations.
This discrepancy reflects the evolution darts has undergone from its pub origins into a highly competitive sport. Drinking no longer defines elite professional dart as strictly enforced regulations allow top players to demonstrate maximum skill and athleticism.
So while darts maintains its heritage and connection to pub culture, beer drinking no longer plays a central role in top-level professional competitions that are reaching wider audiences. Moderation and responsible drinking are still encouraged even among amateurs who are permitted to drink, showing how attitudes have matured. Overall, the regulations show how darts is growing up while still staying true to its roots.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I drink beer while playing darts at my local pub?
At informal pub games and social gatherings, drinking while playing darts is usually allowed. But for any serious competitive league matches or tournaments held at pubs, drinking rules will forbid alcohol consumption during play.
What happens if you get caught drinking during a pro dart tournament?
Drinking alcohol while on stage actively throwing darts violates all professional dart organization policies. If caught, you may be fined, forfeit the match, be disqualified from the tournament, or possibly face a ban from future events for repeat violations. Spectators are allowed to drink during the match as long as the alcohol is purchased at the event.
Do major dart tournaments sell alcohol at the venue?
Yes, most large dart events allow alcohol sales on-site, but only in designated areas away from the match courts. Sales also stop well before end of play. While you can purchase drinks from authorized sellers, you cannot bring your own alcohol or consume it during competitive play.
Is it okay to drink alcohol between sets during a competitive darts match?
No, drinking between sets is still prohibited by standard rules, even if you are not actively throwing darts at that moment. Matches are considered ongoing until fully completed. Drinking is only allowed before or after the match concludes, not during set breaks.
If my local dart league doesn’t explicitly ban drinking during matches, can I drink?
Be very cautious here – most leagues still follow standard WDF, BDO or PDC rules prohibiting drinking while playing even if not directly stated. Check with organizers before drinking as ignorance is not an excuse. If rules do allow it, drink very moderately.
Can professional dart players drink alcohol while being filmed for practice videos or interviews?
Sponsored or promotional content produced for public release will uphold the same standards as competitive play. Drinking alcohol during filmed practice sessions or interviews sends the wrong message and undermines the sport’s integrity. Expect pros to refrain from drinking on camera.