Use space to open navigation items
News
19 June 2020

COVID-19 (coronavirus) FAQs for the liquor and gaming industries

The NSW Government is gradually easing COVID-19 restrictions to allow more businesses to open up and more people to stay in work.

We continue to work with stakeholders and customers to navigate the path back to work in a COVID-safe way. We regularly update this page as restrictions ease, so keep checking back.

These FAQs relate to the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gatherings and Movement Order (No 4) 2020 by Minister Hazzard and the Statement of Regulatory Intent made by Commissioner Webb.

Reopening for business

For the most up-to-date advice on your industry, including any restrictions on venue capacity and requirements you must adhere to under the Public Health Order, visit:

Show your commitment to COVID safety and keeping our community safe, complete a COVID-19 Safety Plan and register as a COVID safe business.

For industry-specific advice on becoming a COVID safe business, and managing staff and customer wellbeing, physical distancing, hygiene and recording keeping on your premises, visit:

Keep the name and mobile number or email address for all staff, customers and contractors for a period of at least 28 days. There is no need to record the details of people who are picking up takeaways. Records are only to be used for tracing COVID-19 infections and must be stored confidentially and securely.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has published Guidance for businesses collecting personal information for contact tracing.

Under the Public Health Order, you must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan for how your business will keep your customers and workers safe.

The COVID-19 Safety Plan must address staff and customer wellbeing, physical distancing, hygiene and recording keeping for your business.

For a checklist of matters to be addressed in your COVID-19 Safety Plan, please industry-specific advice for:

We will continue to take a sensible and practical approach to enforcement of licence conditions due to the changed risk profile of licensed premises. For example, employing security guards and using ID scanners.

Licensees must still take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of patrons, considering any maximum capacity limits for the business and physical distancing requirements.

Liquor & Gaming NSW inspectors will conduct venue inspections over the coming weeks. Inspectors are authorised to exercise certain functions and powers under the Public Health Act 2010. The Inspectors will focus on monitoring compliance and providing education, guidance and support around the Public Health Orders and the COVID-19 Safety Plan.

For the most up-to-date advice on the gaming machines and tables, see Physical distancing advice for pubs and clubs (including small bars, cellar doors, breweries and casinos). This page includes a full checklist of matters to be addressed in your COVID-19 Safety Plan.

If you previously notified the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority through an AM0490 Cease to trade notice (PDF 673.9 KB), before you can resume trade, you will need to notify the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority through a AM0495 Re-commence trade notice (PDF 658.8 KB).

Advice to industry

Takeaway and home delivery liquor sales

Some licensed venues can continue to sell takeaway alcohol and deliveries under the current arrangements.

This has been made possible by the Deputy Secretary of the Better Regulation Division of the Department of Customer Service issuing a Statement of Regulatory Intent that outlines how compliance with certain requirements will be approached.

The statement indicates that a flexible approach will be taken where licensed venues wish to provide home delivery or takeaway services, even where those liquor licences do not authorise the sale of alcohol for consumption away from the premises.

Licence types that may sell alcohol for takeaway and/or home delivery in NSW at the moment include:

  • Small bars
  • Licensed cafes and restaurants
  • General bars
  • Clubs
  • Microbreweries and small distilleries
  • Bottle shops
  • Online delivery companies

Licence types that are not allowed to sell takeaway liquor and/or home deliver in NSW include:

  • Limited licence – multiple functions if there is no defined premises
  • Limited licence – single function

You can only sell takeaway liquor and/or home deliver liquor if you have a current liquor licence – unlicensed venues are not able to sell liquor under any circumstances.

Any sale of liquor, including takeaway sales and taking or processing orders for home delivery, must occur from the registered address of the licensed premises.

No. Unlicensed venues are not able to sell liquor under any circumstances. The sale of liquor without a licence is an offence that carries a maximum penalty of $11,000 in fines, 12 months imprisonment, or both.

No. Any sale of liquor, including takeaway sales and taking or processing orders for home delivery, must occur from the registered address of the licensed premises.

It depends on your circumstances.

If you hold a current liquor licence for a small bar, licensed café or restaurant, hotel, club, microbrewery or distillery, bottle shop, or online delivery company – under the current arrangements you do not need to apply for a new liquor licence to sell takeaway liquor and/or home deliver.

If you do not hold one of the liquor licences listed above, then you will need to apply for a new liquor licence to sell takeaway liquor and/or home deliver.

Yes, you can only sell liquor during the existing trading hours on your licence.

However, if you have trading hours which extend beyond midnight you cannot sell liquor after midnight (or 11pm on Sundays). This is because bottle shops and hotels must cease takeaway and home delivery liquor sales at these times.

There are no explicit limits on the volume of alcohol that can be supplied for consumption away from the licensed premise. However, formal regulations will be put in place should examples of inappropriate practices emerge.

There are no restrictions on the type of alcohol.  Pre-mixed cocktails are permitted.

Microbreweries can repackage products for takeaway sale. For example, keg beer can be repackaged into growlers (glass bottles) for takeaway sale.

Yes, compliance and enforcement action will be considered where risks to the community arise.

In particular, we will be monitoring and will take action in relation to:

  • the sale or supply of alcohol to intoxicated persons, and/or
  • sale or supply of alcohol to minors.

These are serious offences and will attract the strong, regulatory attention of Liquor & Gaming NSW.

See our website for more information on appropriate evidence of age and prevention of intoxication, which may assist in preparing policies and procedures and clarifying legislative obligations.

The Statement of Regulatory Intent applies to regulatory action under the Liquor Act 2007 only. If you have any conditions on your development consent restricting sales of liquor for consumption off-premises you need to speak with your local development consent authority.

No, however you should be aware of and comply with your Responsible Service of Alcohol obligations. We will be monitoring and take action in relation to:

  • the sale or supply of alcohol to intoxicated persons, and/or
  • sale or supply of alcohol to minors.

See our website for more information on appropriate evidence of age and prevention of intoxication, which may assist in preparing policies and procedures and clarifying legislative obligations.

A hotel licence already permits the sale and supply of alcohol on and away from the premises, including delivery. Existing liquor licence conditions and trading hours continue to apply to packaged liquor and hotel licences, including existing regulatory obligations under the Liquor Act 2007.

Fees and refunds

Annual liquor licence base fees and trading hours risk loading fees will be waived for NSW liquor licences for the 2020-2021 fee period.

However, the waiver doesn’t apply to packaged liquor licences with four or more outlets owned by the same licensee or business.

Compliance risk loadings won’t be waived but will be deferred and included as part of the 2021-2022 annual liquor licence fees.

Key points:

  • The waiver and deferral are automatic. You don’t need to do anything.
  • Licensees will receive a $0 tax invoice for your records, or a tax invoice for payment if applicable.
  • 94% of licensees will pay $0 this year.

Read more about fee relief for businesses.

No. New liquor licence application fees and pro-rata liquor licence fees are being waived in full for 12 months from 1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021.

However, the waiver doesn’t apply to packaged liquor licence applications with four or more outlets owned by the same licensee or business.

We’re also waiving of the cost of:

  • extra authorisations submitted with a new liquor licence application
  • moving a liquor licence to a new location.

You won’t be charged application fees or invoiced for the pro-rata liquor licence fee.

However, if you submit a packaged liquor licence application with three or less outlets owned by the same licensee or business, you’ll need to pay the application fee, but it will be refunded.

Read more about fee relief for businesses.

No. New liquor licence application fees and pro-rata liquor licence fees are being waived in full for 12 months from 1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021.

However, the waiver doesn’t apply to packaged liquor licence applications with four or more outlets owned by the same licensee or business.

We’re also waiving of the cost of:

  • extra authorisations submitted with a new liquor licence application
  • moving a liquor licence to a new location.

You won’t be charged application fees or invoiced for the pro-rata liquor licence fee.

However, if you submit a packaged liquor licence application with three or less outlets owned by the same licensee or business, you’ll need to pay the application fee but it will be refunded.

Read more about fee relief for businesses.

Yes. If you applied for a licence eligible for a fee waiver from 1 April and paid before the waivers were announced on 15 April, you’ll be refunded.

However, the waiver doesn’t apply to packaged liquor licences with four or more outlets owned by the same licensee or business.

You don’t need to do anything. We’ll automatically process your refund, and you won’t receive a pro-rata invoice.

If you’ve applied for a packaged liquor licence and are a licensee or business with four or more outlets, you’ll need to pay your application fee. You’ll be sent a pro-rata licence fee invoice when your application has been processed.

Read more about fee relief for businesses.

Three or less outlets owned by the same licensee or business:

You are eligible for the announced fee waivers.

You won’t pay annual liquor licence base fees and trading hours risk loading fees this year.

Compliance risk loadings will be deferred to 2021-2022.

New licence applicants (1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021) will have their fee refunded, and won’t be invoiced for a pro-rata licence fee.

Four or more outlets owned by the same licensee or business:

These licences, such as bottle shop chains, are not eligible for the announced fee waivers.

You’ll need to pay annual liquor licence fees as usual. However, the payment due date has been extended to 31 August 2020.

If you’re experiencing financial hardship, you can apply for an annual liquor licence fee waiver.  Applications open on 20 May. Apply here.

Read more about fee relief for businesses.

Yes. You can withdraw your application or cancel your limited licence, and your application fee will be refunded in full.

We’ve contacted licensees in this situation directly by phone and email. Please email functions.notifications@liquorandgaming.nsw.gov.au if you haven’t been contacted.

Liquor licensing processing times have not changed. However, some applicants have advised of delays in getting the required development consent from local councils.

Regulations

We have published a Statement of Regulatory Intent that outlines the approach we are taking.

We have worked with NSW Police to develop this approach, to encourage consistency for industry.

Compliance and enforcement activity, including investigations, will continue. However, we will take into account a venue’s circumstances and take a common-sense approach to complaints and other issues being investigated.

Our Statement of Regulatory Intent provides more information about our approach.

If a licensed premises cannot trade for more than six weeks, notify the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority through an AM0490 Cease to trade notice (PDF 673.9 KB).

We acknowledge that many of your businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The NSW Government’s recently announced licence fee relief measures apply to certain licence holders in the entertainment and hospitality industries which have been directly and immediately impacted by COVID-19 and/or government restrictions, including the closure of premises.

If you’ve been unable to attend the training in a classroom environment due to the Government’s physical distancing measures, you can undertake this training in a virtual classroom environment or online. Please click here to find an approved training provider. We are looking into other ways in which we can support businesses by potentially extending training deadlines or reducing fees. We will keep you informed of any further changes in this regard.

Given the current circumstances, Round 23 of the Violent Venues Scheme has been suspended.

Gaming machines

Yes. MAX Regulatory Services has advised that from 1 June 2020, the following arrangements will apply with respect to CMS Fees:

  • Monthly monitoring fees will not apply for any gaming machines where game play does not occur, whether connected to the Central Monitoring System or not
  • Monthly monitoring fees will apply for any gaming machine made available for game play at the licensed venue (ie. where machine turnover is >$0)
  • Quickchange PAYG fees will be charged in the normal way
  • Subscription periods for Quickchange will be extended by 70 days
  • MAX Reports fees will be payable on recommencement of gaming in a licensed venue.

MAX will continue to review the position each subsequent month taking into account any further developments.

While venues may choose to turn off their gaming machines during current circumstances, it is recommended core CMS equipment (site controller and routers) should remain on.

Venues who are considering shutting down their gaming machines for an extended period should first consult their manufacturer, as there may be other considerations that could impact the performance or longevity of machines. For example, some manufacturers recommended powering on all gaming machines for a minimum of 4 hours every few days or per week to allow back-up batteries to maintain charge.

If possible, for monitoring and integrity purposes, on the last day of the assessment quarter (any time between 10am – midnight) venues should:

  • turn on all gaming machines, progressive controllers / jackpot-systems
  • leave them all running together for half an hour.

This will help the gaming machine reconciliation and assessment system process.

Hotel end of quarter dates in 2020 are 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December.

Club end of quarter dates in 2020 are 30 May, 31 August and 30 November.

Yes. Deferred payments include:

Community benefit payment:

Community benefit payments to the Responsible Gambling Fund, due from 23 March 2020 to 30 September 2020, have been deferred for six months from the payment due date.

The Office of Responsible Gambling, which administers the Responsible Gambling Fund, will contact clubs and hotels with payments due in this period, to discuss the six-month deferral.

Gaming machine lease levy:

For clubs and hotels leasing gaming machine entitlements, the levy payment to the Responsible Gambling Fund, due from 23 March 2020 to 30 September 2020, has been deferred for six months from the payment due date.

This deferral will not affect lease agreements.

The Office of Responsible Gambling, which administers the Responsible Gambling Fund, will contact clubs and hotels with payments due in this period, to discuss the six-month deferral.

Statutory payments to the Community Development Fund:

Clubs and hotels usually required to make statutory payments under the Gaming Machines Regulation 2010 up until 30 June 2020, such as unclaimed jackpot prizes and gaming machine tickets, will not be penalised if they can’t pay at this time.

Processing of cheque and credit card payments received before venue closures on 23 March 2020 were paused to reduce the financial impact on venues during the closure.

From 1 July 2020, these payments will be required to be paid as usual.  Licensees that had payments to be processed during the closure are being contacted individually about the processing of those payments, and alternative arrangements due to financial difficulty made on a case by case basis.

More information:

Please email gaming.applications@liquorandgaming.nsw.gov.au.

Yes. After approvals of a Class 1 Local Impact Assessment (LIA) clubs and hotels will have a six-month extension to acquire gaming machine entitlements.

The extension applies for Class 1 LIA clubs and hotels that have been approved until 1 October 2020 to acquire all their permitted gaming machine entitlements.

More information:

Please email gaming.applications@liquorandgaming.nsw.gov.au.

Yes. Normal processing is happening.

Clubs and hotels will have their gaming machine tax payments deferred from March 2020 until 1 September 2020. Please access Revenue NSW or contact 1300 139 817.

Competency cards holders and Approved Training Providers

Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) or Responsible Conduct of Gambling (RCG) competency cards due for renewal on or after 1 March 2020 will now have a new expiry date of 30 June 2021.

Yes. New workers or industry workers from outside of NSW must complete training as usual.

Find out what training you must complete.

Existing licensees

Most existing licensees, managers and club secretaries have had their RSA renewal date extended to 30 June 2021. You need to complete Licensee training and/or Advanced Licensee training by that date.

You can do your training earlier and avoid an expected increase in demand for face to face training before 30 June 2021. Contact your nearest approved training provider to book a training course.

New liquor licence applicant

If you are a new liquor licence applicant, you must complete RSA training before you apply. If you need to complete Licensee training and/or Advanced Licensee training as well, you now have 12 months from the date your liquor licence is granted to do so.

Find out what training you must complete.

Transfer of liquor licence

If you apply for a liquor licence transfer you need to complete Licensee training and/or Advanced Licensee training within 60 days from receiving provisional approval.

Appointment of approved manager or club secretary

If you apply to appoint an approved manager or a club secretary, that person must complete Licensee training and/or Advanced Licensee training within 60 days of the application being lodged.

If we have your contact details in our system, we will notify you 90 days before your competency card expires, advising you to complete an online refresher course or the Licensee training and/or Advanced Licensee training.

If you do not renew your competency by 30 June 2021, your competency card will expire.

Check your contact details online – visit www.onegov.nsw.gov.au and search for ‘manage competency card’.

Your existing physical competency card remains valid, despite the expiry date shown on the card. A new card will not be issued.

If you have downloaded your digital competency card, it will show the correct extended expiry date. Download the digital competency card for free from the Service NSW website.

If you would like a physical card with your new expiry date, they can be ordered for a fee.

More information

NSW Government COVID-19 (coronavirus) information