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Alcohol advertising on social media

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Some drink promotions can encourage the excessive and irresponsible consumption of alcohol, which in turn contributes to:

  • anti-social behaviour
  • alcohol-related violence and disorder, and
  • adverse health effects.

Social media promotions encouraging the irresponsible consumption of liquor has resulted in regulatory action against a regional licensed venue.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) served a banning notice to the licensee after a review into their venue’s Facebook promotions found that several were inappropriate under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (the Act).

Adam Ockwell, VCGLR’s Director of Compliance said “we know the way liquor is promoted and sold influences patrons, the way they consume liquor and how they behave. Under the Act, we can ban inappropriate advertising or promotions that are likely to encourage irresponsible consumption of liquor or are contrary to the public interest.”

Failure to comply with a banning notice may result in a fine up to $19,824.40 and could lead to further action by the VCGLR such as varying, suspending or cancelling a liquor licence.

“We received a complaint from a member of the public about the venue’s use of social media. On review of the venue’s social media site, we found a number of irresponsible promotions that breached our guidelines for responsible liquor advertising and promotions. For example, one of these advertisements encouraged patrons to “get hammered” while another contained offensive innuendo,” said Mr Ockwell.

The licensee has now removed the banned advertisements from its social media site.

The VCGLR takes matters of non-compliance seriously and will take appropriate enforcement action if licensees break the rules.

“Responsible advertising and promotion of liquor plays an important part in minimising harm to patrons and to the broader community. Licensees are reminded that if they are advertising or promoting their licensed premises through social media that liquor laws still apply,” Mr Ockwell said.

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