Two Darlinghurst venues have allegedly been stretching liquor and gaming laws through controversial sale of alcohol and irregular placement of poker machines.
HeadQuarters on Crown, an all-male sex on premises venue, is selling alcoholic drinks against City of Sydney Council regulations, while the Brighton Hotel has its poker machines in full view of the main bar.
Speaking about HeadQuarters on Crown, a spokesperson for the City of Sydney said: “Even though the owner of the premises has a liquor license from the NSW Government, they do not have development consent from the City to use the premises for the sale of alcohol.”
The spokesperson added: “When the owner was informed of this, he immediately agreed to stop selling alcohol at the premises and make an application to the City.”
However, last Friday night the venue was still serving drinks.
The general manager of HeadQuarters on Crown could not be reached for comment.
The Brighton Hotel, meanwhile, has its poker machines in full view of the main bar instead of in a separate gaming room.
Poker machines are usually concealed from drinking areas to avoid the temptation of gambling for drinkers.
A spokesperson from the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) said the Brighton Hotel was operating within the law – but only just.
The Gaming Machines Act 2001 and Gaming Machines Regulation 2010 provides for an $11,000 fine if a hotel has more than five poker machines in a general bar area – but only if the venue has ten or more poker machines in all.”
The Brighton Hotel has nine.
An OLGR spokesperson said: “The Brighton Hotel at Darlinghurst has nine approved gaming machines located adjacent to its main bar. As the hotel has less than ten machines they are not required by law to have a separate gaming room.”
GetUp! Australia – which has long campaigned against poker machines – criticised the hotel for having its pokies within view of the main bar, despite the venue adhering to the law.
“It would be best if poker machines weren’t visible; it’s only one machine difference,” said GetUp! communications director Rohan Wenn.
“Poker machines are a dangerous product, they are inherently dangerous.”
The Brighton Hotel’s owner could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the latest issue of Hospitality Magazine reported that OLGR has fined three Sydney venues for breaching liquor regulations.
The Broadway Café in Chippendale, and CBD venues Hanabi Restaurant and Sam & Terry Café, were all fined $1,100 and issued with first strikes under the Three Strikes disciplinary scheme.
By Fintan McDonnell