Liquor and Gaming NSW

Covert operation targets unlicensed alcohol deliveries

20 June 2011,   [PDF,21kb]

The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) today warned unlicensed alcohol home delivery operators that they are breaking the law unless they meet strict exemption requirements.

Enforcement action will be taken against two Sydney-based operators for allegedly selling liquor without a licence after a covert operation.

The operators actively use social media such as Facebook to advertise the home delivery of alcohol 24 hours a day.

Undercover liquor inspectors placed phone orders with the two operators and quantities of beer and spirits were delivered in the early hours of Saturday (June 25).

It is alleged that neither operator met requirements to be exempt from having to hold a liquor licence.

Investigations are continuing and both operators will now be interviewed before a decision is made on the level of enforcement action taken.

“Under NSW liquor laws the sale of liquor without a licence is illegal with a maximum penalty of $11,000 and 12 months imprisonment,” OLGR’s Acting Director of Compliance Patrick Paroz said.

“There are limited exemptions for legitimate businesses delivering gifts such as flowers and food hampers with wine.

”However, there are restrictions to this exemption to ensure it is not abused and that alcohol is delivered with food or flowers as a gift. The alcohol must not be delivered to the purchaser - it must be delivered to a different person being the gift recipient. And the volume of liquor must not exceed two litres per gift.

“OLGR will not tolerate anyone breaching the liquor laws which are designed to protect the community from alcohol-related harm.

“Licensees must comply with responsible service of alcohol laws including those relating to minors and intoxicated persons.

“Under NSW liquor laws, takeaway liquor including home deliveries cannot be sold 24 hours a day. The latest a takeaway liquor sale can be made is midnight. Sales made by telephone and the internet are subject to additional regulatory controls to prevent liquor being sold to minors.

“These sensible controls strike a balance between access to alcohol and community well being.”

OLGR will continue to examine advertising and marketing including the use of viral marketing and social media networks to ensure entities do not contravene the Liquor Act and that alcohol is not supplied to minors or supplied irresponsibly.

It follows a broader investigation by OLGR where unlicensed alcohol home delivery operators were ordered to produce records and interviewed to profile the nature of their operations.