Pubs, clubs fear race lockdown

PRESSURE put on licensees during the July Racing Carnival could be the death knell of the event with pubs and clubs shutting their doors early for fears of whopping fines.

Trackside, Clarence River Jockey Club chairman Graeme Green said, as a result of stern warnings issued by the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR), his security staff were heavy-handed and facilities were shut down earlier than necessary.

"I wouldn't say the local police were an issue but our security people have been overzealous and OLGR was here and that put pressure on the security and bar manager," Mr Green said

He said the club would be keen to arrange a meeting to see how next year could be handled better.

OLGR said the race days this July were held without incident and it didn't detect any breaches at any licensed venue.

Grafton District Services Club GM Arthur Lysaught said he was concerned there wouldn't be a licensed venue open in the city after 7pm during future carnivals.

"We were told before the event if you serve an intoxicated person you'll get busted and whilst I'm not suggesting that's a threat, it's a major concern for any licensee.

"It's really my concern our economy is tight in this city and this and the Jacaranda are two principal opportunities to get additional dollars.

"Most people try to do the right thing but if you miss something you're in big trouble."

For Leanne Brien, secretary of the Grafton Liquor Accord and manager of Roches Family Hotel said the lead-up to Carnival week is a nervous one.

"I felt sick and nervous about what might happen those two days," she said. "We can't predict people's behaviour."

She said the Liquor Accord asked for feedback from OLGR, local and licensing police and local police had asked for feedback from premises to be discussed at the September meeting.

An OLGR spokesman said it works co-operatively with race clubs, licensees and police in the lead-up to annual race days across NSW to ensure they are safe and enjoyable for everybody.

"Efforts are focused on education and support for licensed venues to prevent alcohol-related problems and breaches of laws.

"They are not enforcement operations."

OLGR officers worked closely with CRJC, local licensees and police to assist licensed venues to strengthen alcohol and security management to ensure the events weren't marred by alcohol-related problems and an RSA on the Frontline workshop had been held in the lead-up to the event.

"OLGR and the Clarence River Jockey Club worked together to prepare a racecourse management plan to safely manage alcohol consumption and behaviour to allow an enjoyable experience for both racegoers and families," he said.

"Officers were also on hand at the racecourse and other licensed venues to assist licensees."

Topics:  gaming and racing, graeme green, july racing carnival, office of liquor



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