What time can I open on Melbourne Cup Day?

On Melbourne Cup Day, 3 November 2020, or any other day for that matter, venues can open earlier than their approved trading hours for the provision of non-licensed trade from 7am. However, the sale and supply of liquor can only be conducted during your approved trading hours.

Venues have the ability to offer non-licensed facilities and services such as TAB wagering and the provision of food and non-alcoholic beverages prior to their “normal” opening times. TAB venues will be able to log-on their TAB terminals and process bets from 7am.

Only venues who have lodged an extended trading hours’ application, which has been approved by OLGR, may serve liquor outside their approved trading hours.


Externally advertising Melbourne Cup Day functions including beverages

While there is a general prohibition on externally advertising the price of liquor for on-premises consumption, there is an exclusion available for bona fide ‘functions’ and promotions relating to Melbourne Cup day.

This enables licensees to externally advertise such activities as their Melbourne Cup Day functions and promotions which may, for example, include a bottle of champagne for the table, a complimentary glass on arrival, or another beverage component within the package.


Can I Conduct a Melbourne Cup sweep?

Under the Charitable and Non-Profit Gaming Act 1999 (Qld), an individual may conduct a category 1 game which includes for example, a Melbourne Cup sweep, as long as:

(a) the individual does not derive a personal gain from conducting the game; and

(b) all proceeds of the game, or goods representing the value of the proceeds, are returned to the ‘players’ as prizes.

There is no requirement for any type of licence or permit to conduct a category 1 game in this context.

Most Melbourne Cup sweeps are conducted in a simple format where the total amount of money gathered per sweep is returned on a predetermined basis. For example, a $1 sweep, where 24 tickets are sold (one per horse) will raise a total of $24, which may be divided into winnings of $12 for first, $8 for second and $4 for third, totaling $24.

There is no obligation as to how the dividends must be allocated, however it is recommended that the breakdown is disclosed prior to the selling of tickets.


Beware of approaches from Corporate Bookmakers to ‘host’ Melbourne Cup functions

Members are advised that any approaches by online corporate bookmakers to hoteliers to ‘facilitate’ wagering on their products in their venues is potentially illegal.

Any such facilitation risks contravening the existing Tabcorp exclusivity agreement for wagering in Queensland and may therefore be unlawful under the Liquor Act 1992 (Qld) and the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld).

The Liquor Act 1992 (Qld) prohibits a licensee from allowing unlawful betting to occur on licensed premises and the OLGR may take action against the licensee:

151 Unlawful betting or gaming

(1) A licensee must not —  (a) permit on the licensed premises any machine, apparatus or device capable of being used for betting or gaming other than — (i) one required for wagering under the Wagering Act 1998 (Qld).

151A Betting on licensed premises

(1) A licensee must not allow the premises to be used for betting. 

Serious penalties apply for these offences and QHA members should seek appropriate legal advice before considering entering into any such agreements.  This includes venues without TAB facilities or contracts.


Melbourne Cup Day trading - preparation and management tips


Preparation – Have a clear plan and control the flow of traffic
  • Be COVID-Safe and ensure compliance to keep everyone safe
  • Have social distancing markers or decals internal and external at hand
  • Understand traffic flow you want to create to avoid congestion and bottlenecks
  • Consider having people in different roles in different colour high-Vis vests so

they can easily be identified – COVID Marshall, Digital Expert, Customer Service

  • Create packs with betting tickets and pencil for once a year customer
  • Contact tracing details - print out QR code or manual forms to hand to customers if queues
  • Print out trading hours for cup week to let customers know so they can bet early


Resources – Develop a triage approach and specific roles for team members
  • Experience staff members for operational roles – betting terminals etc.
  • SST Marshall(s) – staff members helping at SSTs and wiping down after customers
  • Customer Service – help fill out bet tickets outside of the venue prior to entering or create a ticket destination
  • Section areas depending on traffic flow and floor space
  • Consider implementing a COVID Marshall External on door – contact tracing log, external queues, social distancing, hand sanitiser. Triage service – how are you betting today? Direct/ supply tickets
  • At peak times consider – Customer Service or SST Marshall: staff to assist with SST’s and cleaning frequently touched surfaces
  • Digital Expert to assist with QR coding for form, digital betting and acquisition

For any information regarding trading conditions on Melbourne Cup Day, please contact the QHA on 3221 6999 or email: dsteele@qha.org.au