Tough new liquor promotion guidelines for licensed venues

05 August, 2013

The NSW government has released updated guidelines setting out acceptable standards for the promotion of alcohol by the state's licensed venues.

Acting Minister for Hospitality Andrew Stoner said the new Liquor Promotion Guidelines produced by the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (OLGR) reflect the need to address the promotion of alcohol at all distributors including bottle shops and supermarkets, as well as the growing trend of alcohol promotion through the internet and social media.

"These new guidelines set a tough new benchmark for responsible alcohol promotions by licenced premises," Stoner said.

"The release of these updated Liquor Promotion Guidelines is part of the NSW Government's ongoing efforts to crackdown on alcohol-related harm, including irresponsible promotions by licensed venues that can lead to binge drinking and other alcohol-related problems in our communities.

"The last guidelines were introduced in 2009, and since then there has been a distinct rise in the sale and promotion of alcohol online.

"The new guidelines not only address the promotion of alcohol through supermarket vouchers and shopper-dockets, but also the specific use of social media and interactive technology to promote alcohol consumption.

"The guidelines now include a reference to 'buy one, get one free' offers promoted through discount vouchers, cards or shopper-dockets, with a  requirement to have purchase limits or other suitable controls in place.

"Licensees who fail to abide by these new guidelines and who encourage the misuse or abuse of alcohol on their premises will face restrictions or bans on their irresponsible promotions with the threat of $5,500 fines for failing to comply."

The guidelines will apply to all licensed premises under the Liquor Act 2007 that run alcohol promotions including hotels, bars, nightclubs, registered clubs, bottle shops, producer/wholesalers, limited licences, licensed restaurants and other on-premises venues.

Stoner said alcohol promotions can have a significant influence on the way people drink and behave in licensed premises so it is vitally important they are conducted responsibly to avoid drunkenness, violence, anti-social behaviour, underage drinking and other harm.

"Licensees and their staff are required by law to maintain responsible attitudes and practices regarding the promotion, sale and service of alcohol," Stoner said.

"The Liquor Promotion Guidelines will encourage greater responsibility by defining clear expectations about alcohol promotions by licensed venues and spelling out what is and isn't acceptable." Stoner said the updated Liquor Promotion Guidelines identify inappropriate promotions including those that:

Appeal to minors, such as promotions that use characters, imagery, motifs, merchandise, naming, designs or interactive games or technology likely to appeal to minors.

Are indecent or offensive such as promotions that use images that may be offensive to a reasonable adult; offer free or discounted drinks for participating in activities that may be offensive; use insulting or offensive language; or involve discriminatory, demeaning or vilifying language or imagery.

Use non-standard measures - promotions that serve alcohol in non-standard measures such as teapots or jam jars, where the alcohol content is not apparent, or use novelty drinkware that encourages rapid drinking such as test tubes, water pistols and yard glasses.

Use emotive descriptions of advertising, such as promotions that encourage excessive or irresponsible drinking including through the use of language, images or slogans such as 'Drink till you drop' or 'Drink like a fish'.

Offer extreme discounts, such as promotions which encourage rapid and excessive drinking through free, heavily discounted or all-you-can-drink offers or drinking games such as skolling games and boat races.

Encourage irresponsible, rapid or excessive drinking - examples include those using drinkware encouraging rapid consumption, drinking games, encouraging stockpiling of drinks, and late night promotions encouraging patrons who have been drinking for a significant period to continue drinking.

Not in the public interest - promotions that are deemed undesirable for reasons that may include encouraging unlawful, anti-social or discriminatory behaviour.