Key responsibilities of liquor licensees

Liquor licence holders must stay well informed and keep themselves up to date with liquor regulations in South Australia. All licence holders must display a copy of their licence at or near the entrance to the premises.

Responsible persons

There must be an approved responsible person on duty whenever the venue is open to the public.

If you don't have a responsible person on duty, you can be issued an on the spot fine of $1,200 and a maximum penalty of $20,000.

In certain circumstances, you may be able to apply for an exemption to have a responsible person on duty.

Approval of a responsible person

Apply for exemption from responsible person requirements

Responsible service of alcohol and other training

The licensee must ensure that the following people have completed approved responsible service of alcohol training (RSA):

  • all staff (including volunteers) who sell, offer for sale or serve liquor
  • all security personnel working at the licensed premises.

Approved training providers

These businesses don't have to comply with the training requirements:

  • a liquor production and sales licensee that doesn't authorise the sale of liquor for consumption on a licensed premises
  • a packaged liquor sales licensee restricted to direct sales licence
  • a short term licensee, unless the licence is for a Class 3 event or there is a condition on the licence requiring the licensee to comply
  • where a person is selling or supplying liquor to a resident for consumption on the licensed premises.

RSA helps control the negative impacts of alcohol and deals with:

  • service of alcohol to minors (anyone under 18)
  • alcohol-related violence and crime
  • drunk and disorderly patrons
  • noise disturbances.

Other training

The Liquor and Gambling Commissioner can direct a licensee, responsible person or any other person who sells or serves liquor to do any accredited training within a specified period.

Anyone who doesn't do the training by the specified date, and the licensee, can be fined an on the spot fee of $500 and a fine of up to $10,000.

Delivery of alcohol

If your licence allows you to sell alcohol by direct sales, such as by phone or online, you must:

  • display your licence number on all promotional direct sales material - eg pamphlets, websites, newsletters
  • make sure the person delivering the alcohol is over the age of 18
  • get the date of birth of the buyer at the time of the purchase, unless it's been supplied before
  • make sure the person delivering the alcohol knows it must only be delivered:
    • to the adult person who purchased the alcohol
    • to the adult person nominated by the purchaser
    • in line with the instructions of the purchaser, such as leaving the alcohol unattended.

If you sell alcohol to a person under the age of 18, you can be fined up to $20,000 for a first offence and up to $40,000 for a second or subsequent offence unless:

  • you can prove you required the purchaser to provide their date of birth at the time of sale, or it had been supplied before
  • you didn't know, and couldn't reasonably have been be expected to have known, that the alleged offence was committed.

You can also be fined up to $10,000 if you employ or engage a person under the age of 18 to deliver alcohol.

Deliveries of alcohol may still be left unattended if the buyer has directly instructed the licensed seller to do so.

A person delivering alcohol must:

  • request evidence from the person accepting the delivery of their identity and age
  • keep a record of the evidence provided for a period of one year.

If you don't comply with these requirements you can be issued an on the spot fine of $315 and a maximum penalty of $5,000.

Declared criminal organisations

No one can enter or remain on licensed premises if they're wearing or carrying any items associated with declared criminal organisations, often called bikie or biker gangs.

A person is committing a criminal offence if they:

  • enter or remain in licensed premises while they are wearing or carrying a prohibited item or anything that displays the name of, or a symbol representing, a declared criminal organisation including:
    • clothing
    • jewellery
    • any other accessory
  • refuse to leave licensed premises when asked by management or the police.

As a licensee, responsible person or employee, you are are committing an offence if you let a person wearing or carrying a prohibited item enter or remain on your licensed premises.

You must call the police immediately on 131 444 and report the person.

All staff must be aware of these requirements and it must be included in the risk assessment and management plan.

Consumer and Business Services has signage that will assist licensees to notify the public (PDF) about these laws.

South Australia Police have a poster with the logos of the declared criminal organisations as well as examples of the prohibited items which cannot be taken onto licensed premises. They also publish a list of declared criminal organisations (PDF).

Noise and disturbances

As a licensee, you have a responsibility to people who either live, work or worship in the area and must establish and maintain appropriate practices to make sure people coming or going from your premises cause minimal:

  • offence
  • annoyance
  • disturbance
  • noise
  • inconvenience.

Good management involves surveillance both inside and in the vicinity of the licensed premises and responding positively to any complaints from nearby residents.

Make a noise complaint about a licensed premises

Confiscating IDs

If a person is on or trying to gain access to a licensed premises, you're allowed to confiscate their ID (with the exception of passports and mobile devices) if you are:

  • the liquor licence holder
  • a responsible person
  • a security agent licence holder.

You must reasonably believe that:

  • the person who produced the document is not the person identified
  • the document contains false or misleading information about the name or age of the person
  • the document has been forged or altered.

You don't have to confiscate an ID, but you can refuse entry if you are unsure about the validity of the ID.

The person who takes the document must:

  • give a receipt to the owner
  • record details of the seizure, including the details on the receipt or a copy of the receipt
  • keep a record of the seizure on the licensed premises for at least one year
  • make the record readily available for inspection or copying.

Seizing an ID receipt template (PDF 398KB)

Anyone, other than a police officer or inspector, who confiscates an ID must give it to a police officer within seven days or risk an on-the-spot fine of $315 and a maximum penalty of $5,000.


As a licence holder you must display signs in  with the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner's specification.

Signage requirements for liquor licences

Late night trading sign

The late night code of practice prohibits the entry or re-entry of patrons onto licensed premises after 3.00 am.

Late night sign (PDF 98KB)

Risk assessment and management plan

All liquor licence holders must have a management plan in place. You may be asked to provide this to a Consumer and Business Services (CBS) officer at any time.

CBS has developed a risk assessment and management plan template to help you, but it's not mandatory to use this template. Industry bodies can develop their own templates for their members, or licensees can choose to develop their own management plan.

Liquor licensee risk assessment and management plan template

General code of practice

Codes of practice are there to encourage responsible attitudes towards and minimise the harm associated with liquor including:

  • promotion
  • sale
  • supply
  • consumption
  • use.

General code of practice (PDF 112KB)

Code of practice guidelines (PDF)

Intoxication guidelines plain English version (PDF 180KB)

Intoxication guidelines for bar staff (PDF 208KB)

Late night trading code of practice

The late night trading code of practice applies to venues that trade past 2.00 am and prohibits the entry or re-entry of patrons onto licensed premises after 3.00 am.

The code covers:

  • drink marshals
  • restrictions of the supply of beverages that promote rapid/excessive consumption
  • restrictions on the use of glassware
  • use of CCTV
  • use of metal detectors.

Late night trading code of practice (PDF 110KB)

Digital closed circuit television (CCTV) technical specification (PDF 59KB)

Metal detector technical specifications (PDF 314KB)

Pay annual fee

Liquor licence holders, except short term licence holders, must pay an annual fee. CBS will send you an invoice each year which you need to pay by 30 June.

Pay annual fees

Calculate annual fees

Contact CBS Liquor and Gaming


Phone: 131 882

GPO Box 2169
Adelaide SA 5001

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Page last updated 16 February 2023

Provided by:
Attorney-General's Department
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