Whenever technology is used to solve a real problem, it warms our hearts. It really does. But when technological perambulations are needed to work their way around antiquated state liquor laws (the likes of which have tormented at least one poor Engadget editor since he reached the age of majority), it just seems sad. For instance, it's illegal to sell alcohol in grocery stores in Pennsylvania, but it's not illegal to install a vending machine that dispenses wine: as long as the user is asked to take a breathalyzer test, swipe their state issued ID or Driver License, and then show their mug to a state official sitting somewhere in Harrisburg, who is keeping an eye on the proceedings via CCTV. Simple, right? Maybe not, but it does protect the state's monopoly on liquor sales. The Pronto wine vending machine is currently only available in select grocery stores in the state, but it's just been announced that the PA Liquor Control Board has given Walmart preliminary approval to put the things in some of their locations outside of Pittsburgh. We'll try one out ourselves, as soon as they start carrying Blue Nun.

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PA Walmart stores getting CCTV-enabled, breathalyzin' wine vending machines