Secret shoppers to test express alcohol suppliers

Liquor and Gaming NSW

The NSW Government is testing its crackdown on express alcohol delivery operators after further reforms introduced in July this year made it harder to sell alcohol to minors and problem drinkers.

Liquor & Gaming NSW Director Compliance Dimitri Argeres said the regulator will scrutinise the laws in action in a two-phase operation which will start with an audit of mandatory training, data records and supplier websites, as well as checks on self-exclusion options and ID verifications at point of sale.

“Then we will hit the underground. We will be conducting covert secret shopper activities to see how successful we are at buying alcohol outside the legal obligations and whether any laws are breached, all the way to the front door,” Mr Argeres said.

“We will be testing those requirements, just like a minor or intoxicated person might do, to make sure that the legislation is functioning as intended and that delivery providers are complying with their obligations.”

The additional 2021 reforms include:

  • Stronger offences for delivering outside trading hours, to a minor or an intoxicated person
  • Stronger offences for not providing an online avenue for self-exclusion
  • An additional requirement for checking identification and age for same day delivery
  • Additional training requirements for delivery drivers
  • Providing six monthly data reports on same day deliveries and locations to Liquor & Gaming NSW

There are now are large number of businesses in NSW which either hold an online or packaged liquor licence, or who are delivering under the flexible approach taken during COVID lockdown, such as bottle shops, small bars, hotels and restaurants.

In 2020, Liquor & Gaming NSW took regulatory action 21 times against both individuals and corporations for unlicenced liquor sales and deliveries, several of which resulted in convictions and court-ordered fines and kickstarted the further reforms rolled out this year.

“There are now many more players on the field and we are reminding all businesses to get familiar with the law,” Mr Argeres said.

“Alcohol can now be bought and delivered in as little as 30 minutes and without regulatory safeguards the business model is easily abused.”

“All delivery provider staff had to be trained by 1 December and we want to see providers updating their websites to reflect their obligations as well as practicing responsible service of alcohol within allowed trading hours.”

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