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RSA and RCG requirements: a one-stop shop for business owners in the hospitality industry

Liquor & Gaming Licensing

The Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) and the Responsible Conduct of Gaming (RCG) are two fundamental obligations for hospitality venues across New South Wales (NSW). These frameworks have long been in operation, but have recently been the subject of proposed amendments. In this article, we will examine the core RSA and RCG functions. Then, we will assess potential areas of improvements with respect to venue management, patron needs, and the broader social interest.

Key RSA obligations

The primary legislation governing RSA obligations is the Liquor Act 2007 (NSW). The Act seeks to promote a practical and adaptable framework through which the liquor industry and community interests can be equally advanced.[1] From a policy point of view, the Act also functions to minimise harm caused by alcohol misuse, whilst upholding the vitality of hospitality industries.[2]

RSA certification covers a variety of topics linked to statutory duties, including:

  • NSW liquor laws pertaining to the responsible selling, supplying, and serving of alcohol;

  • Assessing alcohol affected customers and refusing service;

  • Minimising risks arising from intoxication e.g. providing free drinking water and serving food;

  • Assisting patrons to drink within appropriate time and quantity limits;

  • ID checks of patrons appearing under the age of 25;

  • Preventing the secondary sale/supply of alcohol to minors; and

  • General compliance and harm minimisation strategies e.g. venue signage.

Individuals required to undergo RSA training include:

  • Employees or volunteers serving alcohol;

  • Venue licensees and managers;

  • Security staff; and

  • Crowd controllers.

The specific RSA licence required depends on a venue’s unique nature and character e.g. hotel bars, small bars, surf clubs, pop-up bars. A specified list of different licence types is published on the NSW Liquor & Gaming Authority site.

RSA training must be renewed every 5 years through the simple RSA Refresher Course. If you hold an interstate RSA certificate, you will be required to complete an RSA Bridging Course to operate within NSW.

Proposed RSA amendments

In late 2022, the NSW Government launched the Liquor Licensing Reform Options – Discussion Paper. The paper proposes reforms to the liquor industry, and encourages community dialogue through an online survey. The survey responses are currently under review, but a series of suggestions can be extrapolated from the paper itself:

  1. Streamlining the venue certification process by integrating liquor licence (LL) and development application (DA) approvals in a user-friendly format;

  2. Introducing single licensing consultation processes for medium to high-risk liquor businesses to support the proper development of Community Impact Statements (CIS);

  3. Supporting business diversification towards a vibrant and safe 24-hour economy; and

  4. Tailoring consultation and stakeholder requirements for ‘online only’ alcohol suppliers.

It is unclear when the final survey findings will be published. However, when this time arrives, the outcomes will be shared on the NSW Government’s ‘Have your say’ page.

Key RCG obligations

The RCG scheme is designed to familiarise stakeholders with NSW gaming machine laws, and how to cultivate a safe and responsible gaming environment. Relatedly, RCG certification addresses the community-wide impact caused by problem gambling, offering strategies to assist with its mitigation.

RCG certification applies to all venues with gaming machines. The specific staff members requiring RCG training include:

  • Licensees of a full hotel licence;

  • Secretaries of a registered club; and

  • Staff with gaming machine duties, such as those who pay out winnings, patrol, or serve in the gaming area.

Similar to the RSA format, RCG certification must be renewed every 5 years through the RCG Online Refresher.

Depending on a staff member’s level of seniority, they may be mandated to complete the Advanced Responsible Conduct of Gambling (ARCG) course, which is part of the recent amendments detailed in the following section.

Recent RCG amendments

Following recommendations from the Responsible conduct of gambling study (2019), the Office of Responsible Gaming introduced the Gaming Machines Amendment (Responsible Conduct of Gaming Training) Regulation 2022 (NSW). The updated regulations provide a more robust training framework to assist staff in recognising and responding to signs of problem gambling. This reflects the 2019 study’s key finding that most venues lack a sufficient and genuine commitment to patron welfare. Considering the regulation commenced on 1 February 2023, the full scope of its effectiveness is not yet determinable.

If you are the operator of a hospitality venue attracting RSA and RCG duties, please contact our people for further assistance in understanding how to uphold your obligations.

Ron Zucker 0410 590 111

Eollyn Cortes 0478 727 395

Julia Zou 0426 670 202

[1]Liquor Act 2007 (NSW) section 3(1)(a)-(c). [2]Liquor Act 2007 (NSW) section 3(2)(a)-(d).


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