Liquor and Gaming NSW > Liquor > Liquor licences > Which licence do I need?

​When a liquor licence is not required


A liquor licence is required to sell alcohol in most situations, however there are some limited circumstances when a licence is not needed.

 Bed and breakfast establishments - B&Bs

This exemption also applies to small accommodation venues such as farm-stays.

Larger accommodation venues, or B&Bs with public restaurants, should apply for an on-premises liquor licence.

The Liquor Act 2007 defines a bed and breakfast establishment as a premises that provides temporary guest accommodation where:

  • it is operated by the permanent residents of the establishment
  • meals are provided for guests only (no public restaurant)

A liquor licence is not required if:

  • no more than eight adult guests are staying at the establishment at one time
  • alcohol has been purchased from a retail outlet by the establishment proprietor 
  • sale and supply of alcohol is in addition to the provision of accommodation or food including a take- away picnic basket.

The B&B proprietor must first notify the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) that the establishment wishes to sell or supply liquor to guests. 

 Retirement villages

​A liquor licence is not required for alcohol to be sold during gatherings at a retirement village to adult residents or guests of residents, however: 

  • a resident’s committee member or nominee must be present at the gathering to supervise the sale and supply of alcohol and the general conduct of the gathering
  • alcohol sold at the gathering must be purchased from a retail liquor outlet
  • the gathering must not be organised or run by the operator of the retirement village. 

If a retirement village operator wishes to sell alcohol at gatherings or in any other circumstances, an on-premises liquor licence is required.

 Cruise vessels

​A liquor licence is not required to sell alcohol to an adult on board an interstate or international cruise vessel while it is engaged in a voyage within New South Wales waters.

A liquor licence is also not required where liquor is sold on a vessel conducting a cruise in NSW waters that meets the following requirements:

  • the vessel has sleeping facilities for at least 100 passengers
  • liquor is sold or supplied to registered fee-paying passengers or crew members only
  • liquor is sold or supplied for consumption on the vessel only
  • liquor is not sold or supplied to a minor or an intoxicated person.

 Aircraft

​Aircraft operators are not required to hold a liquor licence to sell alcohol to an adult on board their aircraft while in New South Wales.

This exemption only applies to a person or organisation selling or supplying alcohol and who also operates the aircraft. For example a person who charters an aircraft and wants to sell liquor on board must obtain a liquor licence.

 Hospitals and nursing homes

A liquor licence is not required to sell alcohol to an adult who is receiving care in a nursing home, or a patient in a public hospital, private hospital, or medical facility. 

The alcohol must be provided by, or on behalf of, the person in charge of the facility.

 Gift baskets and flowers

​A liquor licence is not required to sell alcohol that is included in the sale of flowers or food designed to be delivered as a genuine gift to a person, such as a gift basket or bouquet of flowers.

  • the alcohol included in the gift must be purchased from a retail liquor outlet
  • two litres is the maximum volume of alcohol permitted in each gift
  • the gift must be packaged and presented in such a manner that it would be taken to be a gift
  • the gift can only be delivered to another adult who is not the purchaser
  • the gift cannot be delivered to a person at the location where the gift was purchased
  • gifts must be delivered between the hours of 7am to 7pm.

 Auctions

​A liquor licence is not required to sell alcohol to an adult at an auction conducted by an auctioneer that complies with the following requirements:

  • the auctioneer must be a person who operates an auction house, or is employed as a professional auctioneer
  • auctions must be publicly promoted as an auction involving the sale of liquor
  • ILGA must be notified that the auctioneer auctions liquor
  • the auctioneer must comply with any direction issued by the Secretary of the NSW Department of Industry. Directions can relate to the quantity or type of liquor that may be sold by auction or the manner or frequency in which liquor is sold.

 Unlawful liquor sales

​Where liquor is sold without a licence, or outside the scope of exemptions provided under the law, maximum penalties of $11,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment apply.

The sale or supply of liquor to a person under 18 is an offence, with penalties of up to $11,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment.

 More information

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Access the Liquor Act 2007 and the Liquor Regulation 2018 at www.legislation.nsw.gov.au