Hospitality, Liquor & Gaming
Our Gold Coast & Sydney commercial lawyers are experts in hospitality, liquor and gaming. We have extensive expertise in both gaming law and liquor licensing, and offer our clients a full suite of planning.
Local industry experts
Our main office location on the Gold Coast has made our growth in the hospitality, tourism and gaming industry a natural one due to the region’s rapid growth into Australia’s sixth largest city, most populous non-capital city and status as one of the nation’s fastest growing cities. Tourism, and thus the hospitality industry, is vital to the success of the Gold Coast economy with almost 10 million annual visitors. Our commercial lawyers pride themselves on contributing to the ongoing health and expansion of the Gold Coast.
We also have expertise in the Gold Coast’s growth areas, particularly the CBD in Southport which has now been labelled a Priority Development Area and a driver of transformative change in business and investment. We recognise the ongoing importance of tourism and assist clients to capitalise on the position of our city on the edge of the Asia-Pacific rim and the opportunity to participate in major infrastructure projects or business more generally.
OFFERING COMPLETE HOSPITALITY PLANNING SERVICES
Our commercial lawyers bring together all areas of the law as it relates to the hospitality industry, ranging from property law to urban planning, dispute resolution, liquor and / or gaming licensing, intellectual property considerations and employment law. We have an in-depth understanding of the intersection of these areas of law and how they relate to your business and provide a seamless service across them to ensure you can receive all the legal advice you need to operate effectively.
If you are seeking to sell or purchase a hospitality business, we have ample transactional expertise to assist you, providing the necessary due diligence to ensure you are meeting regulatory standards and achieving compliance. Our lawyers also assist our clients to review new and existing leases, prepare renewals and disclosure statements, structure deeds of variation for leases and mediate any disputes that may arise.
OUR AREAS OF EXPERTISE INCLUDE:
- Liquor licensing applications, variations, transfers
- Approved managers
- Bottle shops
- Obtaining permits
- Altering hospitality leases
- Hospitality transactions
- Gaming machine licenses
- Expanding gaming machine permissions
- Gaming machine transactions
Knowledge of liquor licensing laws
Our client base is diversified and unique, and we provide frequent assistance on liquor licensing requirements and how it impacts the licensing services of various commercial venues including hotels. We also offer our services to low risk applications for smaller businesses ranging from cafes and restaurants to bars and indoor sports centres.
We can prepare transfer applications, seek alterations to terms and expand licensed areas upon request. We also work with venues to prepare the required Risk Assesses Management Plan and Community Impact Statement that go along with liquor licenses. We have expertise in achieving a successful licensing for one-off events like festivals, markets and sporting events. We can also provide guidance in the event you are charged with an offence under the Liquor Act 1992 and the Wine Industry Act 1994.
We are able to assist with:
- New liquor licence applications for venues such as hotels, clubs, bars, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, cellar doors or special facilities (casinos, airports, tourism businesses etc.);
- Temporary liquor licence applications;
- Transfer applications;
- Renewals and suspensions;
- Relocations, alterations to terms and expand licensed areas;
- Establishing or expanding detached bottle shops;
- Risk Assesses Management Plan (‘RAMP’); and
- Community Impact Statement (‘CIS’);
- Trading hour compliance advice;
- One-off events like festivals, markets and sporting events; and
- Guidance in the event you are charged with a liquor industry offence.
In Queensland the categories of liquor licence include:
- Commercial hotel licence;
- Subsidiary on-premises licence (Commercial ‘other’ licence);
- Subsidiary off-premises licence (Commercial ‘other’ licence);
- Bar licence (Commercial ‘other’ licence);
- Industrial canteen licence (Commercial ‘other’ licence);
- Producer/wholesaler licence (Commercial ‘other’ licence);
- Commercial special facility licence;
- Community club licence;
- Community other licence;
- Nightclub licence;
- Wine producer licence; and
- Wine merchant licence.
In New South Wales the categories of liquor licence include:
- Small bar licence;
- Microbreweries and small distilleries licence;
- On-premises licence;
- BYO restaurants;
- Club licence;
- General bar licence;
- Hotel licence;
- Producer / wholesaler licence;
- Licences for surf clubs;
- Limited licence – special event;
- Limited licence – trade fair;
- Limited licence – single function;
- Limited licence – multiple functions; and
- Music festival licence.
Click here for more information on NSW Business types and liquor licenses.
Types of liquor licences in Queensland
In Queensland, liquor licences are outlined in the Liquor Act 1992 and are regulated by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (‘OLGR’).
There are various types of liquor and wine licences each with different requirements, applications and fees.
A summary of the types of liquor licences is below:
Commercial hotel licence
A commercial hotel licence is generally applicable to hotels or taverns and allows the licensee to sell alcohol for consumption either on or off the premises.
A commercial hotel licence requires a business to have:
- the capacity to seat more than 60 patrons at any one time;
- toilet facilities for male and female patrons on the licensed premises; and
- a commercial kitchen and at least 2 of the following facilities:
- a dining facility (restaurant or bistro-style);
- self-contained accommodation of at least 3 rooms for paying guests; or
- a function room facility available for hire by members of the public.
Specifically, a commercial hotel licence allows the sale of liquor to:
- the general public for:
- consumption on the premises during ordinary (or extended trading hours); and
- takeaway purposes during trading hours only;
- residents and their guests for consumption on the premises after hours (i.e. in residents’ units / accommodation); and
- the general public, from an approved bottle shop away from the licensed premises, for takeaway purposes only.
General eligibility requirements apply including requiring a ‘fit and proper person’ including obtaining a criminal history check, a layout plan, location plan, town planning consent, title search, survey, company extract (if a corporate applicant). Other requirements may be required such as a risk-assessed management plan (RAMP), a community impact statement (CIS) and menu (if applicable).
Subsidiary on-premises licence (Commercial ‘other’ licence)
A subsidiary on-premises licence is required when selling liquor for on-premises consumption is a subsidiary or ‘secondary function’ of business. Examples of such businesses include:
- indoor sporting centres;
- amusement parks;
- function centres; and
- training institutions.
Restaurant and café licence holders must provide meals as the ‘principal activity’ of their business. Generally, to satisfy this requirement, a restaurant or café must show that:
- most patrons who attend the venue during a day will consume a meal;
- most of the premises will be set up for dining;
- the kitchen will be open up to 1 hour before closing the premises; and
- there will be enough staff at the premises to prepare and serve meals.
A subsidiary on-premises licence allows liquor to be sold between the hours of 10am and 12 midnight (or during approved extended trading hours) for consumption:
- on the licensed premises; and
- off the licensed premises (i.e. if stated in the licence) in the course of the licensee catering to a function.
Subsidiary off-premises licence (Commercial ‘other’ licence)
A subsidiary off-premises licence is required when selling liquor for off-premises consumption and as a secondary function of business. Examples of such businesses include:
- florists; and
- businesses that sell gift baskets that include liquor.
A subsidiary off-premises licence allows liquor to be sold for consumption off the premises in the amount stated in the licence, or in any other case, 2 litres.
Businesses that sell liquor as part of a floral arrangement or gift basket may be eligible for exemption subject to the below criteria:
- The sale is part of a florist’s business or the business of a person selling gift baskets;
- The quantity of the liquor is not more than 2 litres and, if the liquor includes spirits, the quantity of spirits is not more than 1 litre;
- The floral arrangement or gift basket must be delivered as a gift to an adult other than the purchaser of the floral arrangement or gift basket;
- The gift is to be delivered to a place other than the business where the sale was made and other than a relevant restricted area;
- The total value of the liquor and the container in which it is supplied is not more than 75 per cent of the gift’s sale price; and
- The liquor was purchased on a retail basis.
Bar licence (Commercial ‘other’ licence)
A bar licence is required when the main business activity is selling liquor for consumption on licensed premises with a maximum seating capacity of 60 patrons.
A bar licence allows liquor to be sold for consumption on the licensed premises at any time from Monday to Sunday, between the hours of 10am and 12 midnight (or during approved extended trading hours).
Industrial canteen licence (Commercial ‘other’ licence)
A industrial canteen licence is required when the main function of the business is selling liquor to employees and their guests in ‘remote industrial locations’ i.e. a location that has no permanent residential population and mining, rail or road construction activities are happening.
Liquor may be sold to on the licensed premises for consumption on or off the premises.
Producer/wholesaler licence (Commercial ‘other’ licence)
A producer/wholesaler licence is required when the main function of the business is either, or both:
- production and wholesale sale of liquor on the licensed premises
- wholesale sale of liquor (to other licensees) on the licensed premises.
A producer/wholesaler licence is generally required for breweries and distilleries.
A producer/wholesaler licence holder may sell liquor for consumption on the premises (i.e. operate a tap room / tasting room) and for consumption off the premises (i.e. take away as a ‘souvenir of the visit’). A wholesale supplier may sell liquor from the licensed premises to license / permit holders for consumption off the premises during ordinary trading hours (i.e. sold to bottle shop / distribution resellers).
A producer/wholesaler licence also allows liquor to be sold at certain promotional events.
Commercial special facility licence
A commercial special facility licence allows liquor to be served in casinos, airports, convention centres and other tourism businesses (excluding sporting facilities).
Trading hours and other conditions regarding on / off site consumption can vary for this licence class.
Community club licence
A community club licence is required for to non-proprietary clubs such as sporting clubs, RSL clubs and ethnic clubs where (i.e. clubs where income, profits and assets are used only to promote its objects, and are not distributed to its members).
A community club licence allows liquor for consumption on or off the premises to be sold to:
- members of the club
- members of clubs with formal reciprocal rights
- visitors authorised by the management committee playing a sport that is part of the club’s business, including teams and officials, for the day on which the sport is played only
- a guest of a member (while in the member’s company)
- a guest of a member of a club with formal reciprocal rights (while in the member’s company)
- an interstate or overseas visitor
- a visitor who resides at least 15km from the club.
A register of members and a register of all visitors to the club (except minors and visiting players) must be maintained, and be available for inspection at the premises at any time.
A range of limitations and other endorsements can apply to a community club licence.
Community other licence
A community other licence allows for limited trading periods and applies to ‘non-proprietary clubs’ that are also incorporated associations (such as charities) or unincorporated associations with an individual to hold the licence on the association’s behalf.
A community other licence generally applies to small clubs operated by volunteers.
A community other licence allows liquor to be sold for a maximum of 25 hours per week for consumption on the premises to:
- members of the club
- members of clubs with formal reciprocal rights
- a guest of a member
- a guest of a member of a club with formal reciprocal rights.
A register of members and a register of all visitors to the club (except minors and visiting players) must be maintained and be available for inspection at the premises at any time.
Liquor cannot be sold for consumption off the premises (takeaway liquor), gaming machines are not permitted and there is no ability to extend the trading hours of the club to trade prior to 10am or after 12midnight.
A nightclub licence allows liquor for consumption on the licensed premises and is required when the main function of the business is to provide entertainment. The person presenting the entertainment must be physically present while entertainment is being provided such as a live band, DJ etc.
A nightclub licence also allows the provision of liquor to customers who are consuming a meal that is prepared and served to be eaten on the licensed premises until 5pm when no entertainment is provided.
Wine producer licence
A wine producer licence allows the licensee to operate a vineyard or winery. Wine that is made under a wine producer licence is known as ‘licensee’s wine’ which is the only wine which may be sold under the authority of a wine producer licence (subject to certain exceptions).
A licensee may hold more than one licence, however must have a separate ‘wine nominee’ for each premises. A ‘wine nominee’ is an individual responsible for the premises covered by a wine licence and must ensure that wine is sold on the licensed premise only. Premises covered by a wine producer licence may have more than one nominee approved at any one time.
A wine producer licence allows the sale of their own wine:
- for tasting on the premises as a sample
- for consumption on the premises other than as a sample with approval from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR);
- for consumption off the premises (i.e. takeaway bottles)
- at other premises (i.e. a satellite cellar door) with approval from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation.
The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation may approve the sale of wine that is not licensee’s wine for consumption on the licensed premises and for consumption off the licensed premises but only if the sales do not exceed the sale of the licensee’s wine (e.g. no more than 49% of annual sales).
Wine merchant licence
A wine merchant licence is require where a licensee conducts a business that contributes to the Queensland wine industry in a ‘substantial way’, i.e. using Queensland fruit to make wine on another premise, or blending different wines to create a unique wine in Queensland.
A person’s business will not contribute, or does not contribute, to the Queensland wine industry in a substantial way merely if the person buys bulk wine from outside the State and bottles it in the State or sells only wine made and bottled by other persons.
A wine merchant licence allows wine to be sold:
- for tasting on the premises as a sample;
- for consumption on the premises other than as a sample (with approval)
- for consumption off the licensed premises (i.e. takeaway bottles).
Additional licences or permits
Once you hold a licence, you may also apply separately for any of the following permits or extensions to your licence:
- adult entertainment permit
- detached bottle shops
- extended trading hours (ongoing)
- extended trading hours (one-off)
- off-premises catering
- alterations or additions to licensed premises
- increase or decrease of licensed area (temporary or permanent)
- commercial public event permit
- gaming machine licence (individual or body corporate)
Types of liquor licences in New South Wales
In New South Wales, liquor licences are outlined in the Liquor Act 2007 and are regulated by Liquor and Gaming NSW.
There are various types of liquor and wine licences each with different requirements, applications and fees.
A summary of the types of liquor licences is below:
Small Bar Licence
A small bar licence allows alcohol to be sold for consumption on the licensed premises however does not allow takeaway sales or gaming. To be eligible for a small bar licence, the premises must have a maximum capacity less than 100 patrons. A small bar licence also allows the provision of entertainment from the premises (unless this changes the principal use of venue).
A small bar licence is subject to most regulatory controls that apply to other licences where alcohol is sold for consumption on the premises:
- the bar must be open to the public;
- free drinking water must be available to patrons;
- food must be made available to patrons whenever alcohol is sold;
- a sign stating the name of the premises, the type of liquor licence held and the name of the licensee must be displayed at the front of the premises; and
- an incident register must be maintained if the premises are authorised to trade past midnight.
Microbreweries and small distilleries licence
Eligible micro-breweries and small distilleries with the authorisation, are allowed to sell their own products to the public for consumption on their premises (not just as tastings). Conditions apply such as a patron limit of 100 and a requirement for food to be available.
This type of licence is a trail only and applies to certain areas including Sydney’s Inner West Local Government Area and Newcastle. If successful, the licence type will roll out across NSW.
An on-premises licence allows the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises when another product or service is offered such as food, entertainment or accommodation. This type of licence generally applies to restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, cinemas, accommodation venues, catering services, hairdressers / barbers, sporting facilities and other venues such as function centres or karaoke clubs. Under 18s are allowed in premises with an on-premises licence.
All restaurants holding an on-premises licence need to meet the ‘primary purpose test’ meaning that their primary activity is not the sale or supply of alcohol.
A hotel licence allows the sale of:
- alcohol to the public for consumption on the premises
- takeaway alcohol
- alcohol at functions away from the premises, subject to separate approval
A hotel licence generally applies to pubs, hotels with accommodation and large bars and does not have patron limit (however local council may impose a limit).
A hotel licence allows gaming machines, keno and betting, subject to separate approval and the provision of entertainment, (provided that the venue’s main business is the sale and supply of alcohol to the public).
Hotel Licence – General bar licence;
A general bar licence is a type of hotel licence. The primary purpose of this licence is to sell alcohol to the public for consumption on the premises. Generally this type of licence applies to large bars, pubs and accommodation hotels.
A general bar licence allows everything that a Hotel Licence allows however does not allow:
- sale of takeaway alcohol; or
- gaming machines, keno or wagering.
Under the Liquor Act 2007 there isn’t a patron limit on a general bar licence, however local council can impose a limit.
A club licence allows registered clubs to sell alcohol to their members and guests for consumption on and off the premises. Generally this type of licence applies to RSL clubs, bowling clubs and gold clubs.
Other endorsements can be obtained subsequently such as gaming machine approval.
Producer / wholesaler licence
A producer/wholesaler liquor licence allows liquor wholesalers and producers to sell alcohol by wholesale to other licensees. This licence is generally suited to winemakers, brewers and distillers.
A producer/wholesaler liquor licence allows a producer to:
- conduct tastings
- sell the licensee’s product by retail to the general public, both online or directly from the licensed premises (if permissible under the relevant development consent)
- sell the licensee’s product by retail at liquor industry shows and farmers’ markets or fairs.
Liquor producers can also apply for a ‘drink-on premises’ authorisation to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises.
‘Wholesalers’ don’t qualify as ‘producers’ and are only permitted to sell liquor by wholesale to those who have a liquor licence, for example restaurants, bottle shops, and pubs.
Packaged liquor licence
A packaged liquor licence enables you to sell alcohol to the public, to be consumed away from the licensed premises. Generally, a packaged liquor licence applies to:
- bottle shops
- supermarkets or general stores with a retail space of over 240 square meters, selling packaged liquor
- online and mail order businesses where customers do not attend the licensed premises
- home delivery.
A packaged liquor licence also allows the sale of alcohol to employees for consumption off the premises and tastings on the premises with or without charge.
The sale of alcohol must be from a separate area to other activities of the business (i.e. in a supermarket, the alcohol sales area and the cash register must be in a different area to the main part of the supermarket).
There are 4 types of ‘limited licences’:
- A limited licence – single function
- A limited licence – multiple functions
- A limited licence – special event
- A limited licence – trade fair
Limited licence – single function
A limited – single function licence allows a not for profit organisation such as a sports club or community group, to sell alcohol for consumption during a single event.
Generally, this licence type will apply to:
- fairs, fetes, or carnivals
- race meetings
- sporting events
- other events or activities conducted for public amusement or entertainment, or to raise funds for any charitable purpose.
A limited – single function licence does not allow for takeaway sales.
There are certain not for profit organisations that may be eligible to sell alcohol at fundraising functions without needing a limited licence.
Limited licence – multiple functions
A limited – multiple function licence allows multiple (multi) functions allows non-profit organisations, like sports clubs or community groups, to sell alcohol for consumption at up to 52 functions a year. Alcohol can only be sold and consumed at the function.
A limited licence – special event
A limited – special event licence is applicable to temporary and infrequent events that have a direct and significant social or economic benefit to the community at a regional, state, or national level.
A limited – special event licence allows the sale or supply of alcohol at a venue that doesn’t hold a liquor licence, provided that the sale / supply of alcohol is not the sole reason for holding the event.
Special events that have qualified in the past are:
- an annual 4-day regional arts and music festival
- a World Cup/World Championship sports competition
- a music festival held in the Domain and expected to attract more than 25,000 people, including interstate, national and international guests.
Public events with an anticipated patron capacity of 2,000 or more, must lodge additional forms.
There is no restriction on under 18’s being present at a special event held under a limited licence.
Limited licence – trade fair
A limited – trade fair licence allows organisations and businesses to sell or supply alcohol for take away or for consumption at a trade fair or exhibition.
Qualifying events generally include:
- wine shows
- food shows
- agricultural shows
- travel shows
- outdoor equipment shows.
Similar to the other limited licences, public events with an anticipated patron capacity of 2,000 or more, require additional forms to be lodged.
A liquor licence is not required to operate a BYO restaurant, under the Liquor Act 2007.
Advising on gaming machine law
Our commercial lawyers can provide assistance on acquiring venue operator licenses for gaming machines, attaining new approvals in hotels and clubs, applying for increased numbers of gaming machines, acquiring or selling machine entitlements, gaining approval for new management arrangements or undertaking corporate restructuring to enable approvals for new entities to operate gaming machines.