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Liquor & Gaming NSW (L&GNSW) administers the regulatory framework for the liquor, gaming, wagering, casino, and registered club sectors in NSW.

In addition to providing licensing services and robust policy advice to Government, our remit includes monitoring and ensuring compliance with several pieces of legislation, including the:

  • Liquor Act 2007
  • Gaming Machines Act 2001
  • Registered Clubs Act 1976
  • Totalizator Act 1997
  • Betting and Racing Act 1998
  • Gaming & Liquor Administration Act 2007
  • Public Lotteries Act 1996
  • Casino Control Act 1992

Our work with independent agencies

L&GNSW works closely with both the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) and the NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC), which are independent statutory authorities.

From a compliance and enforcement perspective, L&GNSW supports the work of these agencies by undertaking audit, assurance, regulatory approval, and compliance monitoring activities, and may refer matters to each relevant agency for consideration of disciplinary action. L&GNSW undertakes some of this work under delegation, but also undertakes compliance and enforcement activities using its own powers.

Purpose of this policy

The Compliance & Enforcement Policy sets out the principles that inform our compliance and enforcement decision-making processes, our governance arrangements, and our approach to regulatory activities and information sharing.

This policy is relevant to our regulated entities, their staff, our co-regulators and the NSW community, and operates alongside our regulatory priorities and delivery plan

We will review this policy every three years, or in response to any significant contextual change to ensure that it remains relevant, and that we are meeting our requirements and responsibilities as a progressive regulator.

While this policy is intended to provide additional guidance to stakeholders about the approach we take to compliance and enforcement activities, we often carry out our functions in accordance with statutory requirements and this policy cannot override those requirements should there be a conflict.

Our vision, mission, and values

Our compliance and enforcement activities are guided by our vision and mission.

Our vision: Vibrant, safe, and responsible hospitality and racing sectors for NSW.

Our mission: Enabling and supporting industry to minimise harm and develop responsibly in step with community expectations and aspirations.

For more information on our vision and mission, or to see our values and strategic approach more broadly, please refer to our Strategy 2025 document.

Our approach to compliance and enforcement

Our graduated and proportionate enforcement approach promotes and encourages self-regulation and voluntary compliance while applying escalating enforcement action targeting industry participants or behaviours that present the highest risk.

In general, this refers to those who demonstrate more serious, repeat, or sustained contraventions of the law or other conduct that is harmful and inconsistent with community expectations and the public interest.

Our approach aims to secure remedial and future compliance, signal general deterrence, and instil public confidence in our regulation of industry.

How we assess the risk associated with our regulated entities

We segment industries according to risk, based on a range of data sources and risk factors, including the particular licence type or class, the size of an operation, location, trading hours and the harm minimisation measures that have been put in place by the operator.

These assessments are informed by our own intelligence holdings and those of other jurisdictions as well as NSW Police and Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data.

We focus our resources on segments of the industry that are assessed as being higher risk.

How we risk assess conduct

To successfully apply a graduated and proportionate enforcement approach, we assess the level of risk associated with any alleged offence or behaviour. Risk is assessed by considering the consequences of the allegedly offending conduct, and the likelihood that similar conduct will occur in the future.

Factors we consider when assessing risk


  • the seriousness of harm or risk of harm
  • public interest or public safety considerations
  • the extent of the detriment or potential detriment of the conduct
  • impact on more vulnerable communities or members of the community
  • damage to L&GNSW's reputation as a regulator, including any reduction in our integrity as a regulator


  • compliance history, including recent similar breaches or a history of poor compliance
  • the nature of conduct, including whether it was intentional, accidental or reckless
  • steps taken to remedy any offending conduct
  • cooperation with L&GNSW during any investigation undertaken

Compliance and enforcement activities

We do not act on every report of non-compliance we receive. Any compliance or enforcement action we take is informed by our regulatory priorities and commensurate to the level of risk associated with the identified conduct.

Our regulatory responses allow a balanced approach to non-compliance which aims to prevent and stop offending conduct and promote a change in attitudes and behaviours, rather than simply applying a punishment or penalty in all cases. Combinations of actions may be taken, including a mix of criminal and administrative penalties or sanctions where appropriate.

Education and engagement

We acknowledge that most industry participants want to do the right thing and will comply if they understand their obligations and how they can meet them. We encourage and foster a cooperative and collaborative approach that promotes engagement with the community and regulated entities.

We place a significant emphasis on equipping our regulated industries to be able to comply voluntarily, and achieve this through high levels of education, stakeholder engagement, training and providing tools to assist with compliance. We publish or communicate our regulatory priorities and focuses in advance, and alert industry when we identify a specific or thematic risk or issue.

We aim to build capacity within industry to embrace sustainable practices and embed compliance as a fundamental business consideration. We identify opportunities to incentivise industry to adopt best practice and strive to increase voluntary compliance as part of our commitment to encourage responsible and sustainable industry development.

The information and tools we provide come through multiple channels, including websites, information sheets, newsletters, and brochures, and through social media and media releases. Our intent is to make it easier for industry and for the community to access this information, and collaborate with other organisations, including other government agencies, to achieve this end.

Wherever possible, we work in partnership with peak bodies, including industry groups, and stakeholder groups such as liquor accords to gain support for, and achieve, compliance. Our inspectors carrying out compliance monitoring activities also play an important role in informing and educating regulated entities about their obligations and the expectations of the regulator.

Compliance monitoring programs

We undertake proactive, planned monitoring through general monitoring, inspection activity, auditing, and assurance initiatives and by analysing intelligence. We regularly collaborate with NSW Police, other regulators, and government agencies to develop our understanding of emerging risks in the liquor and gambling industries.

Our systems record all reports of non-compliance, whether alleged or established, and we draw on these intelligence holdings and the results of our monitoring programs to plan operational deployments. These deployments align with our regulatory priorities and are targeted at known or emerging risks or trends.

This intelligence-led approach enables us to address and deter non-compliance or irresponsible conduct before it becomes a serious concern and helps shape future enforcement activity to better correct behaviours and mitigate any risk of harm.

Inspection activity and investigations

We conduct inspections of regulated entities to actively engage with industry, provide face-to-face education and support, and monitor compliance in line with our regulatory priorities and Delivery Plan, reports of non-compliance, or intelligence received from external sources, including the public.

Determining what level of scrutiny we will apply to any matter depends on an assessment process that is undertaken prior to any investigation being initiated.

We share responsibility for enforcing liquor and gambling laws with NSW Police. While we operate independently of NSW Police, we maintain a strong working relationship and on occasion will conduct joint operations or investigations.

When an offence or improper conduct is alleged or identified, including where this has been raised by a member of the public or another agency through a report of non-compliance to us, we may initiate an investigation.

As co-regulators, we actively look for opportunities to collaborate and share information with NSW Police to improve our overall effectiveness and reduce potential duplication.

While we will provide advice to industry where appropriate, we cannot provide assurance on what complies in every instance. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of each commercial operator to make informed decisions about business models, promotions and products introduced to the market, and to manage their regulatory and legal risks accordingly.

When an offence or improper conduct is alleged or identified, including where this has been raised by a member of the public or another agency through a report of non-compliance to us, we may initiate an investigation.

Deter, enforce and actively pursue

Where repeat, continued or serious non-compliance is detected, we will apply our powers and take enforcement action with a view to enforcing the law and deterring future offending conduct. Deterrence may be specific to the offence or may serve as a general deterrent to industry, to signal that certain behaviours will not be tolerated.

While we investigate and take action in relation to matters of varying severity, we will focus our resources on actively pursuing egregious and severe instances of non-compliance, particularly where there is a risk of harm to the community, repeat offending is identified or where we need to clarify the law.

In these instances, we will not hesitate to take strong enforcement action, including issuing penalty infringement notices, commencing prosecution action and/or applying or seeking further administrative penalties or conditions where appropriate.

The role of our inspectors

All staff within our inspectorate, audit and investigative teams are inspectors appointed under section 20 of the Gaming and Liquor Administration Act 2007. This legislation allows our inspectors to exercise a broad range of statutory powers, including having free and unimpeded access to licensed premises, compelling persons to answer questions, issuing formal demands for information or records and seizing items for use as evidence.

We assign our inspectors to a broad array of covert and overt deployments across NSW in line with our regulatory priorities and consider that our inspectors have an important function to fulfil both from a monitoring and enforcement perspective, but also in an educative and supportive capacity.

When monitoring compliance, gathering evidence of suspected non-compliance, and exercising their statutory powers, our inspectors are required to do so in line with our regulatory principles, our internal policies, and our Code of Ethics and Conduct.

All inspectors must undergo a stringent probity assessment process prior to being appointed as inspectors and are considered to be of the highest level of integrity.

How we handle reports of non-compliance

Reports of non-compliance we receive are assessed against uniform criteria, which help determine what action we will take and ensure our decisions are consistent.

This process is the same for every matter we assess. Some of the criteria we may consider include:

  • whether the conduct may contravene any of the laws that L&GNSW enforces
  • the seriousness of the alleged conduct, including any associated risk or potential harms
  • our regulatory priorities and delivery plan
  • the most appropriate regulatory tool or option to use
  • whether the issue or misconduct is ongoing, systemic, or spread across several industry sectors
  • the likelihood and impact of continued or repeated non-compliance.
  • the likelihood of a successful outcome
  • the specific and general deterrent impact of our actions
  • the impact our actions may have on industry participants and other stakeholders
  • intelligence holdings we may have, including compliance history and previous reports of non-compliance received
  • whether the resource requirements are proportionate to the ultimate outcome
  • the objectives of the relevant legislation
  • whether our action will assist to clarify aspects of the law
  • community expectations and public interest considerations

We exercise discretion in determining whether we will commit resources to investigating a matter, which means we will, in some cases, decide to take no further action in relation to a report of non-compliance. All reports we receive that are within our jurisdiction are recorded for intelligence purposes.

We are less likely to apply resources to reports of non-compliance that:

  • are frivolous, vexatious, not in good faith or raise low risk or trivial matters
  • are a customer service or consumer issue, better dealt with by a licensee or operator
  • are being investigated or better dealt with by another agency, particularly NSW Police
  • reference historical allegations, so that investigation is impractical, or it is unlikely that enforcement action for an offence can proceed
  • do not include supporting evidence, and such evidence could not be readily obtained
  • are better resolved directly between the parties
  • identify minor or technical misconduct or breaches that are likely to be isolated errors, or which the licensee or operator has already adequately remedied
  • refer to conduct or breaches that have previously been investigated, even if the previous report came from a different source

We are not able to act as an intermediary or negotiate an outcome to resolve consumer issues. This includes not being able to recover funds lost during gaming play or due to the actions of a wagering operator, though we may still investigate whether an offence has been committed.

Anonymous reports

Anyone is entitled to make an anonymous report of non-compliance or may choose to identify themselves. Anonymous reports are not treated any differently, although the inability to obtain further information may impede our assessment process or any subsequent investigation.

Communicating the outcome of a report

We record all reports made to us for intelligence purposes but may not respond to every contact unless we require further information. If we investigate a matter, where appropriate, we will communicate the outcome to the person who reported it.

The amount of information we can provide is often restricted by our secrecy provisions or other factors, including privacy and commerciality considerations. As a result, we may not be able to provide specific detail on what action, if any, was taken in a particular matter.

Publication of guidelines

Our approach to the handling, assessing, and actioning of reports of non-compliance will change from time to time, depending on our identified regulatory priorities, emerging risks, resourcing levels and several other factors.

We may publish guidelines that set out our approach to a particular issue or risk, or that set thresholds for non-compliance reports we will accept.

These guidelines will be published on our website, including as fact sheets, where appropriate.

Dealing with offences

Although available remedies differ depending on the legislation involved, a range of options are available to us to deal with non-compliance or allegations of non-compliance.

These may include:

  • engagement and education
  • taking remedial action, by working with a licensee to review the facts and circumstances around a complaint, and identifying opportunities for improvement
  • official cautions and warnings
  • infringement notices
  • prosecution
  • administrative action, including:
    • civil disciplinary complaints
    • suspension or revocation of recognised competency cards
    • the imposition of licence conditions
    • issuing statutory directions.

Educational or remedial action and warnings

An educational or remedial approach may be suitable to address low risk matters, or where it is more useful or appropriate to educate a licensee or operator on their obligations and ensure future compliance than to take escalated enforcement action.

Offending conduct can often be addressed through engagement with a licensee or operator and may include a remote audit or review of relevant business records. Remedial action is most appropriately used in response to allegations of low-risk offences or conduct.

It may not always be appropriate to deal with detected offences by way of penalty notice, disciplinary or prosecution action. Where there are significant mitigating factors around the commission of an offence, or where it is otherwise considered to be appropriate to do so, a formal warning may be issued.

These warnings are recorded and form part of antecedents that will be considered should future offences be committed. When a warning is issued, it is done so in accordance with the Attorney General’s Caution Guidelines under the Fines Act

Penalty infringement notices and prosecution action

Where a more serious offence has been detected, where there is a poor compliance history, or where it is otherwise in the public interest do so, we may opt to deal with offences by issuing a penalty infringement notice or by commencing prosecution action.

The decision to issue a penalty infringement notice or commence prosecution is made by a committee.

Administrative and disciplinary action

Disciplinary action

Disciplinary action refers to making a statutory disciplinary complaint to either the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority or the NSW Independent Casino Commission.

We will usually take disciplinary action in response to serious or repeat breaches of our legislation, or where there are concerns around the fitness of a licensee or operator to hold a position within the industry.

Administrative action

The legislation we administer includes the power to take certain administrative actions, such as imposing conditions on a licence or issuing binding statutory directions. These may include:

  • licence conditions designed to:
    • address a specific risk or issue, such as drink restrictions or noise mitigation strategies.
    • uplift a business’ processes or procedures, such as requiring the use of CCTV, implementation of a plan of management, or imposing crime scene preservation requirements.
    • provide a level of regulatory certainty by securing ongoing compliance with certain requirements or harm minimisation measures.
  • directions intended to:
    • address an immediate risk, including by placing restrictions on events or the way in which a venue is being operated.
    • ensure the implementation of certain processes or measures in the casino sector.

We will usually apply administrative remedies when we need to take decisive action to address an ongoing concern or immediate risk.

Demerit point system

Licensees, managers, and clubs incur demerit points for committing demerit offences or through a prescribed complaint made by L&GNSW or NSW Police to the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority.

These demerit points apply to serious breaches of liquor legislation and can result in sanctions ranging from additional loadings attached to a venue’s annual liquor license fee through to reprimands and disqualifications of licensees, managers and club secretaries or the suspension of liquor licences for up to 14 days.

For further information, visit our demerit point system page which include a list of demerit offences.

We may take administrative action alone or in combination with any criminal action we take, depending on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. Some criminal action we take, such as issuing penalty notices for certain offences, may automatically trigger the demerit point system.

Governance arrangements

Our compliance and enforcement activities are undertaken within a strict governance framework to ensure efficient and effective allocation of resources and adherence to our guiding principles of proportionality and consistency.

Decisions around whether and how to deal with a report of non-compliance or incident and the instigation of formal investigations and enforcement proceedings are handled by two discrete internal governance panels.

Report Assessment Panel

The Report Assessment Panel (RAP) considers all reports of non-compliance that are accepted and not dealt with at the point of contact.

The primary role of the RAP is to ensure a consistent and appropriate approach to the:

  • triaging and allocation of incidents and reports of non-compliance.
  • handling of reports of non-compliance.
  • identification of trends and emerging risks.
  • regulatory response to allegations of non-compliance.

Enforcement & Prosecution Panel

Where an investigation establishes evidence of non-compliance, enforcement options must be weighed up based on the facts and circumstances of the offending.

Where a penalty notice, prosecution or administrative action is recommended, a report is submitted to the Enforcement & Prosecutions Panel (EPP). The EPP assesses the matter and determines the appropriate action in the context of our objectives. This also includes consideration of this policy, our regulatory priorities and delivery plan, the Attorney General’s guidelines as they relate to penalty notices and cautions, and the public interest. The EPP also provides oversight of investigations and prosecutions as they progress, which includes strategic decision-making on the approach to investigating and prosecuting certain matters.

A key role of the panel is to provide a level of oversight of and consistency in enforcement decision making.

We may take administrative action alone or in combination with any criminal action we take, depending on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. Some criminal action we take, such as issuing penalty notices for certain offences, may automatically trigger the demerit point system.

Information sharing

To ensure the community and industry we regulate understand our expectations, we regularly inform or report on the way we regulate, our operations and the decisions we make.

It is also important that we establish frameworks to both receive and share information and intelligence from and with law enforcement bodies, other government agencies and regulated entities where appropriate. We do this through several channels.

Delivery plan

We publish a delivery plan that sets out our focus areas for a three-year period, or longer. This plan sets out the harms or risks we have identified as priorities in each of our industry sectors, and what action we propose to undertake in response.

The identification of risks and harms is informed by an assessment of existing or emerging issues based on data, intelligence, and research. Learn more about our delivery plan

We report on the outcomes of the delivery plan at the conclusion of the plan.

Regulatory priorities

Our compliance and enforcement regulatory priorities govern where we will target our compliance and enforcement policies on a half yearly basis. While these priorities are set within the context of our delivery plan, they provide more detail about the specific issues we will be targeting and the timeframe in which our campaigns will occur.

Our regulatory priorities are communicated to industry proactively.

Industry and stakeholder engagement

Industry alerts

We aim to engage proactively with industry participants and ensure that we are as transparent as possible with our planned activities, any emerging risks or issues identified, and any proposed change to our standard approach to matters.

In addition to the publication of our delivery plan and regulatory priorities, we may, from time-to-time, issue industry alerts to licensees and operators, describing a particular issue, our proposed response, and any action we may recommend industry take.

Stakeholder engagement

We maintain regular engagement with NSW Police, community and industry bodies, NSW Health, the Office of Responsible Gambling, local councils, and other government agencies to facilitate ongoing collaboration, to gain insight into issues impacting the local community and industry and to discuss our regulatory priorities. Our regular engagement is complimented by more formal forums and working groups held with key industry and community stakeholders.

Engagement frameworks and intelligence sharing

In situations where we are dealing with a range of stakeholders or co-regulatory agencies, or where we are addressing significant or persistent risks, we will create an engagement framework that includes all relevant agencies and regulated entities, where appropriate.

These frameworks are designed to facilitate the free flow of information and intelligence between regulators, law enforcement bodies and regulated entities to ensure that all risks are understood, considered, and managed by the appropriate stakeholder.

Publication of enforcement outcomes

To promote transparency and accountability, deter future or broader non-compliance, and instill public trust and confidence in our status as an effective regulator, we publish the outcomes of our enforcement actions. This may include:

  • media releases, in line with any applicable media policy
  • the publication of outcomes in a register on our website
  • the publication of reports or decisions on our website.
  • The publication or dissemination of information relating to our activities, investigations or enforcement actions may identify venues or individuals, where it is appropriate to do so.

For more information on when we might make a public comment, please refer to our Public Comment Policy

More information

This policy forms part of our broader regulatory framework and should be considered within that context.

Other relevant documents include our:

Contact us for more information

For further information on our approach to compliance and enforcement, or to discuss a particular set of circumstances, please contact us by email at