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News
31 July 2019

Mystery shopper ID sting helps industry stay on right side of law

Liquor & Gaming NSW’s support of a mystery shopper ID sting operation run by NSW Health’s Central Coast Local Health District is helping improve the number of bottle shops on the Central Coast checking ID of customers who look under 18, which has jumped to nearly 80%.

The operation is a great opportunity to educate and support bottle shops to stay on the right side of the law, and reduce the risk of people under 18 buying alcohol.

The joint operation sent mystery shoppers who looked under 18 to buy alcohol from bottle shops on the Central Coast. Bottle shops in general are advised to check ID of anyone who looks under 25.

Results from the operation showed 67% of bottle shops were checking the mystery shoppers’ ID, but 33% were not.

67% of bottle shops were checking the mystery shoppers’ ID67% of bottle shops were checking the mystery shoppers’ ID
This information was then used by Liquor & Gaming NSW and Central Coast Local Health District to engage directly with bottle shop licensees.

Our inspectors and Central Coast Local Health District representatives visited the bottle shops that didn’t check ID, to find out how it happened and help them with strategies to stop it happening in the future – such as reviewing practices and procedures and making sure staff are being inducted and trained properly.

To test the success of bottle shop visits, mystery shoppers were sent back to Central Coast bottle shops. The percentage that checked ID this time had risen to 73%.

Hannah Bartman, NSW Health Promotion Officer, said working with Liquor & Gaming NSW Inspectors has been an effective way to educate the local industry, and help protect the community from alcohol-related harm.

Following out visits the percentage of bottle shops checking ID increased to 73% (after first visits) and then 79% (after second visits)
“Following our initial success we ran another round of mystery shoppers and visits to bottle shops. The percentage of bottle shops checking ID rose again, to nearly 80%. We plan to conduct these operations together in the future to further increase the checking of ID,” Ms Bartman said.

“The results, and the willingness of Central Coast bottle shops to take them on board and improve their ID checking practices, demonstrate that this approach can help bottle shops stay on the right side of the law, avoid being fined or prosecuted, and protect minors from harm.”

Learn more about how to avoid selling alcohol to minors.