Guideline 60 provides examples of practices and promotions that are unacceptable and illegal. It also tells advertisers specific practices and promotions that can be acceptable, provided they have documented measures in place to minimise the risk of potential harm.
Examples provided in the guideline are not intended to be exhaustive and it is a licensee’s responsibility to assess all practices and promotions to ensure they are not unacceptable in accordance with section 142ZZ of the Liquor Act.
The guideline is based on key areas of concern and will help you to make informed decisions about practices and promotions that may be unacceptable, such as those that:
- may encourage irresponsible consumption of liquor
- may discourage patrons from monitoring or controlling their consumption of liquor
- are likely to appeal to children
- are indecent or offensive
- use emotive descriptions likely to encourage irresponsible consumption
- provide free or discounted drinks in a way that encourages rapid or excessive consumption.
1. Encouraging irresponsible consumption of liquor
Licensees (and permittees) must be vigilant in ensuring practices or promotions do not encourage patrons to drink irresponsibly. Drinking irresponsibly includes consuming liquor rapidly, in quantities that are excessive or greater than the person is accustomed to, or other ways that may lead to harmful outcomes and/or undue intoxication.
Promotions such as ‘happy hours’ can lead to irresponsible consumption of alcohol if not properly managed. A promotion like this must not create an incentive for patrons to drink in greater amounts, or more rapidly, than they usually would. Also, it must not allow the stockpiling of drinks, which can result in excessive consumption.
2. Discouraging a patron from monitoring or controlling their consumption of liquor
Practices or promotions that involve the serving of alcohol in ways that encourage skolling, repeated quick consumption of alcoholic drinks or free pouring of alcohol are not acceptable. These clearly discourage a patron from monitoring or controlling their consumption.
3. Appealing to children
The effects of alcohol on children can be significant and can be harmful to their health and physical development, as well as having social and emotional effects.
Licensees (and permittees) must not engage in, or allow another person to engage in, practices or promotions that are likely to have special appeal to children.
4. Indecent or offensive material
A liquor promotion that uses indecent or offensive material is in poor taste and is against general community standards. Licensees (and permittees) should also be aware that indecent and offensive promotions may be a catalyst for crime or violence, including sexual violence. Linking the consumption of alcohol with such material or activities is not appropriate for any licensed venue, function or event.
In determining what is offensive and/or indecent, a licensee (or permittee) must objectively consider what an ordinary, reasonable person within the general community would consider offensive.
5. Emotive descriptions in promotions
Encouraging or glorifying excessive consumption of liquor is inappropriate. A promotion that focuses on irresponsible drinking is not in the public interest and is contrary to the principles of responsible service of alcohol. The promotion of irresponsible drinking, or using emotive descriptions to encourage excessive drinking, can influence the actions of patrons and increase the likelihood of intoxication. Such practices have clear ramifications for the health and wellbeing of the patron and can increase the risk of anti-social behaviour and violence.
6. Free or discounted drinks
Many licensees (and permittees) choose to use liquor discounting as a marketing tool to encourage people to attend/remain within a venue, or try a new product, or to reduce stocks of a particular product.
If a licensee or permittee is considering offering cheap or discounted alcohol they must ensure that there are appropriate RSA practices in place.