Case for Change

Public events involving alcohol need to be well-managed. 

Some events may pass with few or no alcohol-related problems, others can cause significant harm. Events that involve large numbers of people (such as horse races, music festivals, cricket and rugby/rugby league matches) can be particularly problematic.

Young people attending events must be protected from alcohol promotions and opportunities to consume alcohol.

Factors associated with problems at public events

Alcohol-related problems may be due to:

  • inadequate alcohol control and management by security staff
  • the ability to purchase many drinks at a time
  • inexperienced bar staff untrained in responsible alcohol service
  • no or little promotion of low and non-alcoholic drinks
  • and a lack of monitoring and enforcement of the law on intoxication.

Many of the factors commonly associated with risky drinking and violence (e.g. a permissive environment, a large proportion of young males, and crowding) are also often present at sporting and other events where alcohol is available. 

In particular, university student sports fans have been found to drink more alcohol, be more likely to engage in binge drinking, and be more likely to report alcohol-related problems than students who are not sports fans.

Aggressive behaviour is more frequent in drunken crowds compared with sober crowds, and intoxicated crowds display greater levels of violence as crowd size (i.e. density) increases. 

Events may be attended by young people and children

It is also very important to keep in mind the protection of young people and children at large events where alcohol is sold. There should be procedures in place to protect young people at such events.

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