The Queensland Government recently amended the Liquor Act to reduce maximum trading hours from 5 am to 2 am (3 am in Drink Safe Precincts). However, the explanatory notes to the Bill include this information:
To promote the development of a diverse night time economy that includes but does not revolve solely around the service of alcohol, the Bill provides clarity that licensees are able to stay open beyond the hours of liquor service to provide other services such as food, non-alcoholic beverages and entertainment.
As far as gaming is concerned, the changes will allow licensees to apply for an increase in approved hours of gaming for up to two hours after service of liquor has ended.
There has been some confusion in the industry regarding how this will work. OLGR has recently clarified the process and most licensees would have received the following information by email:
- From 1 June 2016 existing gaming licensees can apply to extend gaming for up to two hours beyond the approved liquor trading hours they will have from 1 July.
- Applications for up to one hour of extended gaming trading will be streamlined and will not be advertised unless they are accompanied by a liquor application e.g. a new licence application or an application for approved extended trading for liquor.
- Applications for more than one hour of extended trading will be deemed to be of “significant community impact” and must be advertised for community comments, albeit for a reduced period of 14 days. However, they will not require a community impact statement or a statement of responsible gambling initiatives.
- Applications must still be supported by a submission demonstrating a sustainable demand for gaming during the additional hours.
- For all applications, the licensee must warrant that the hours are permitted under the town planning approval for the premises.
Things to note are:
- The maximum extension to gaming is two hours after the sale of liquor ceases, rather than from the end of the grace period. So, if you are approved to sell liquor up to midnight, you can apply to extend gaming hours until 2.00 am.
- This represents an opportunity to all gaming licensees, not only those whose approved liquor hours will change on 1 July 2016.
- Existing licensees will retain their approved gaming hours, regardless of any change to approved liquor trading. In other words, some licensees will cease liquor trading at 2.00 am but may continue to operate gaming machines until 5.30 am. It appears that if a new gaming licence is issued for the site, for example when the business is sold and the liquor licence transferred, then any hours of gaming beyond the standard two hour period will be lost.
To find out how we can help with the preparation of an application to increase your approved gaming hours, call our office on 07 3252 4066.