The state was the first to offer a digital driver’s license. Now you can use it to buy booze too.

By Mike Pomranz
January 29, 2019
SolStock/Getty Images

Thanks to services like Apple Pay, you can now use your smartphone instead of a physical credit card. And yet, if those purchases require age verification — like alcohol, for instance — you still have to dig an ID out of your wallet like it's 1976. But not in Louisiana. The home of The Big Easy has always played a bit fast and loose with its alcohol laws, and now, the state is the first in the country to officially allow the purchase of alcohol by using a digital driver’s license app.

Last year, Louisiana-based software company Envoc helped the state become the first in the country to introduce a digital driver license. LA Wallet, as the app is called, is approved by the state of Louisiana as a legal replacement for driving purposes thanks to a law passed in 2016 in anticipation of the app. But yesterday, Envoc announced another major step for LA Wallet: The Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) issued a notice making it legal for businesses to use the app for age verification during purchases as well. Envoc points out that some vendors had already accepted LA Wallet for this purpose since the ATC had previously given verbal approval of its usage, but now things are officially in writing.

“This ruling gives retail stores, restaurants, and other vendors a clear understanding on the adoption of LA Wallet by ATC for age-restricted purchases,” Paige Paxton, OMV Field Administrator and Project Manager of LA Wallet, said in the announcement. “Adding ‘How-to’ LA Wallet handling into training materials across our state has been an accomplished priority we are proud of.”

Meanwhile, Envoc's lead mobile developer Kyle Joiner suggested that this further adoption in the company’s home state could have repercussions elsewhere. “The ATC ruling is a great step toward wider adoption and acceptance statewide,” he stated. “It also adds to the appeal of LA Wallet in other states across the nation.” Can we get that happening now, please… ‘cause I totally forgot my wallet.

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