Sydney’s lockout zone laws already have more than their fair share of issues, but as it turns out the 2018 FIFA World Cup isn’t about to ease them. In fact, barring a miracle, the pubs inside the lockout zone will not be allowed to remain open for any of the knockout stages of the tournament except for the final.
The NSW Liquor & Gaming board quietly released the details of their extended trade rulings for the World Cup a few weeks ago. The laws in place as they stand permit venues to trade and allow people in on days of significant sporting and cultural events. These are the laws that hotels and pubs to trade through the night during events like Vivid or on State of Origin night.
However, the regulations in place for the FIFA World Cup are remarkably tight, and will, in all likelihood, prevent the majority of pubs within the lockout zone from showing the majority of the World Cup. Including the quarter and semi finals, and the third place match.
The Liquor & Gaming board’s ruling allows for pubs to access extended trade hours for the knockout stages of the tournament only in the event that Australia qualifies.
Given Australia’s group stage games come against three teams currently ranked inside the top 12 on FIFA’s global rankings, that seems somewhat far fetched.
More to that, extended trade is not being afforded to the Group Stage match days either, with only Australia’s match against Peru being permitted for extended trade (the only Socceroos game that begins outside of ordinary trading hours for pubs and club, and therefore the only Socceroos game where extended trade is required).
The FIFA World Cup Final, which is set for the night of Sunday, July 15 into the early hours of Monday, July 16, does fall under the extended provisions, with pubs and hotels showing the game live that night permitted to remain open from midnight until 5am. However, the extended trading period does not affect existing service or last drinks laws, meaning booze will not be permitted beyond 3am.
These extensions and allowances do not apply to venues inside the lockout zone that have already had their trading restrictions relaxed; those venues are allowed to continue trading as per normal.
Coincidentally enough, the lockout zone still does not include the Star Casino, who is currently heavily promoting its ability to show every game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup live.
Really makes you think.