Running a licensed liquor venue

Key responsibilities of liquor licensees

Liquor licence holders must stay well informed and keep themselves up to date with liquor regulations in South Australia.

Responsible persons

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

If you don't have 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.

Apply for exemption from responsible person requirements

Crowd controllers

As a licensee it's your responsibility to ensure any crowd controller:

  1. has a current security licence endorsed as a crowd or venue control
  2. is approved to act as a crowd controller for licensed venues.

Mandatory training for staff

Responsible service of alcohol

All staff who serve liquor or manage crowds at a licensed venue must be trained and accredited in the responsible service of alcohol (RSA) including:

  • crowd controllers
  • responsible persons
  • any other staff serving alcohol.

There are exemptions to the RSA requirement for:

  • producers licences that don't authorise the sale of liquor for consumption on a licensed premises
  • a wholesale liquor merchants licence
  • a direct sales licence
  • a limited club licence, unless a clause is applied by CBS requiring it
  • a limited licence, unless a clause is applied by CBS requiring it.

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.

To comply with RSA laws, licensees and venue staff must:

  • recognise the signs of intoxication
  • not serve anyone who shows signs of intoxication
  • not serve anyone who arrives already intoxicated
  • understand what is meant by standard drink and drink driving levels
  • discourage patrons from actions that can cause harm
  • understand the impact of alcohol on our community.

To find registered training organisations offering mandatory training in responsible service of alcohol, visit

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 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, such as pamphlets, websites,newsletters etc
  • make sure the person delivering the alcohol is over the age of 18
  • get the date of birth of buyer at the time of  the purchase, unless it has 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 accordance with the instructions of the purchaser, such as leaving the alcohol unattended.

As a licensee, 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, and
  • you did not know, and could not 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.

Penalties relating to deliveries will not be enforced until 1 July 2019 to allow time for licensees and delivery providers to prepare for the transition.

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

Declared criminal organisations

No-one can enter or remain on licensed premises if they are 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 and report the person.

All staff must be aware of these requirements and it must be included it in the Liquor Management Plan.

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

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.

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 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.

Confiscating IDs

If a person is on or trying to gain access to a licensed premises, you are 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.

Seizure of identification 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 fee of $315 and a maximum penalty of $5,000.


As a licence holder you must display:

  • a copy of your liquor licence at or near the front entrance of the venue
  • under-age drinking notices.

Order signs for a venue

You can order signs from Consumer and Business Services by emailing your order form to

Order form for liquor licensing signs and posters (PDF 180KB)

Minors are permitted

This notice must be displayed in a prominent position in areas where minors are permitted to enter but not to buy or consume alcohol.

You must be 18 to consume liquor on this premises sign

Minors are not permitted at certain times

Entertainment venues with an extended trading authorisation must display a sign advising of the times and areas that are out of bounds to minors.

Area out of bounds to minors between midnight and 5.00 am sign

Minors are not permitted

Areas that are out of bounds to minors must have a sign displayed at all of its entrances.

This area is out of bounds to people under 18 sign

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.

You can download a pdf of the late night sign, or order one from CBS.

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 (PDF 250KB)

Self-assessment checklist (optional)

The checklist has been developed to help licensees assess their level of compliance with legislation, regulations, licence conditions and codes of practice.

Liquor licensee self-assessment checklist 2018 (PDF 150KB)

General codes of practice

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

  • promotion
  • sale
  • supply
  • consumption
  • use

Liquor licence general codes of practice (PDF 280KB)

Late night trading codes of practice

The late night trading code of practice (late night code) applies to venues that trade past 12.00 am.

The code includes:

  • queue management
  • 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

The Liquor and Gambling Commissioner has approved the CCTV technical specification and metal detector specification.

Late night trading code of practice (PDF 101KB)

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

Late night sign (PDF 98KB)

Code guidelines

Each code of practice has guidelines to help licensees and their staff to properly comply.

General code of practice guidelines (PDF 169KB)

Intoxication guidelines (PDF 180KB)

Intoxication guidelines for bar staff (PDF 208KB)

Renew your licence

Most liquor licence holders must pay an annual fee. CBS will send you an invoice each year, which you need to pay by 30 June.

You don't need to pay an annual fee for a one-off event (limited) liquor licence.

List of annual liquor licence fees on the CBS website (PDF 161KB)

Renew now

Contact CBS Liquor and Gaming


Phone: 131 882

In person:
91 Grenfell Street

GPO Box 2169
Adelaide SA 5001

Related information

On this site

Running a licensed venue

Other websites

SA liquor reforms - CBS

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Page last updated 25 September 2018

Provided by:
Attorney-General's Department
Last Updated:
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