Illegal and unacceptable promotions and practices at licensed venues

It is illegal to use practices and promotions for the service of alcohol if there is potential it can harm patrons.

Certain promotions and practices are only acceptable when they are conducted in line with a documented management plan that includes:

  • measures to minimise harm (e.g. rapid or excessive consumption)
  • and
  • steps to make sure all staff are aware of these measures.

Definition of unacceptable practices

Under the Liquor Act section 142ZZ(2), unacceptable practices and promotions are those that:

  • may encourage irresponsible drinking of alcohol (e.g. 'drinking the shelf', 'last man standing', 'all you can drink', 'drink like a fish' or 'beat the clock')
  • may discourage a patron from monitoring or controlling the amount of alcohol they drink (e.g. serving alcohol in yard glasses, test tubes without a stand, or jugs without glasses)
  • involve pouring or shooting alcoholic drinks straight into patrons' mouths (e.g. 'laybacks')
  • are likely to have a special appeal to children (e.g. because of the use of designs, names, motifs or characters that are likely to be attractive to children)
  • are indecent or offensive (e.g. wet t-shirt competitions and use of discriminatory, demeaning, provocative or vilifying language or imagery)
  • use emotive descriptions that are likely to encourage irresponsible drinking (e.g. 'thirsty Thursday', 'beat the clock', 'drink till you drop' or other encouragement for patrons to get drunk)
  • involve providing free drinks, or providing drinks at discounts, in a way that encourages patrons to drink alcohol more rapidly than they would otherwise do (e.g. as many free drinks as a patron can drink within a limited time frame, or drink cards or wrist bands for a high volume of alcohol within a short time period)
  • are defined by the Liquor Regulation 2002 as an unacceptable practice or promotion (e.g. providing alcohol to a patron while holding their bank card on account, pending payment, if done in a way that discourages them from monitoring or controlling the amount of alcohol they purchase).

Read Guideline 60: Unacceptable liquor practices and promotions in licensed venues for examples of practices and promotions that are lawfully unacceptable.

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