On the Lawn with Mullins – Licensed Trading Hours
By Matthew Bradford
As Queensland’s economic recovery from the initial COVID outbreak continues, we have observed that a number of clubs are experiencing a sustained increase in trade.
Capitalising on an increased level of trade or providing more flexibility to members whilst maintaining compliance with the COVID Safe Checklist can prove difficult.
For some clubs, it may be worthwhile to consider whether applying to Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) for approval to sell liquor and/ or operate gaming machines outside the standard 10am to 12 midnight trading hours may assist in making the most of a recent uplift in patronage.
Permanent extension to liquor trading hours prior to 10am
Whilst OLGR cannot allow clubs to operate gaming machines before 10am, community clubs are actually uniquely placed to seek OLGR approval for liquor sales prior to this time. Community clubs can apply to have their licensed trading hours for on-premises liquor sales extended to include 7am to 9am. These applications are best suited to bowls clubs and golf clubs, as other clubs will need to demonstrate there is a genuine community need for the earlier trading hours.
In addition to the 7am to 9am time period, all licensees can apply to have their trading hours for on-premises and takeaway liquor sales commence from 9am. As touched on above, the applicant will need to demonstrate a genuine community need for the trading hours and this is done via a written submission to OLGR, but again for bowls and golf clubs this requirement is waived.
Permanent extension to liquor and gaming trading hours after 12 midnight
Subject to meeting the relevant eligibility criteria, the OLGR can also approve an extension of trading hours under a community club liquor license to 2am.
If the premises are located within a designated safe night precinct, this can be extended further to 3am. Clubs will need to provide a community impact statement regarding the potential impact on the local community from the extended trading hours.
The process to extend gaming hours is similar although it does involve a separate application. Generally, most operators that hold both liquor and gaming licences will want their trading hours to align however it is worth noting that OLGR also considers applications for gaming hours to be extended to be two hours after the ceasing of liquor trading hours.
This means that clubs could have their liquor trade cease at the standard time of 12am but seek approval for gaming machines to operate until 2am.
Temporary (one-off) extended trading hours
Licensees can alternatively apply for one-off approvals for extended trading hours when the specific need may arise. OLGR will approve a maximum of four early morning extensions and six late night extensions per year. In addition, OLGR will only grant one late night extension per calendar month and it must be for a ‘special occasion’. A ‘special occasion’ is defined to mean the following:
- a unique or infrequent special public event of local, state or national significance. Examples of special public events include a local music festival or a televised international sporting match involving an Australian team; or
- a private function closed to the public, such as a wedding or birthday.
If you are considering extending your licensed trading hours to take advantage of increased patronage or you want to offer more flexibility for your members, and you want a better understanding of the OLGR application process, please don’t hesitate to contact Matthew Bradford at 07 3224 0353.