In Sydney’s Central Business District, a 1:30am lockout has been imposed. Bars and nightclubs are losing out on business because they can’t accept new patrons onto the property after 1:30 ad cannot serve drinks after 3 in the morning, and the only venue in town that is thriving is The Star Casino. It seems that the biggest winner is Echo Entertainment, as pub crawlers look to The Star Casino when they can’t get into any other bars.
The Star Casino has a late-night alcohol license, so it is the perfect place for patrons to go after the lockout has affected other bars. The casino has denied any increase in activity, likely to repudiate any accusations related to problem gambling. Responsible gambling advocates have noted that patrons are more likely to make irresponsible decisions with their money when they are intoxicated.
"The Star has not seen an increase in patronage since the lockouts were introduced by the NSW government," says a spokesperson for the casino. "In fact, the Star's head count on Friday and Saturday nights has fallen slightly." Club goers are also leaving the CBD for areas outside of the lockout jurisdictions.
Areas like Newtown and Pyrmont feature 24-hour venues, and Sydney residents are becoming more attracted to these neighbourhoods. So, not only are Sydney bars losing business, it seems that the lockout is not entirely effective. Club goer and pub crawlers are still going to find places to go drinking, even if they are prohibited from entering venues at 1:30am.
Lawmakers will be able to truly measure the success of the lockout when crime rate statistics are released. Then, we can determine whether or not the lockout has actually prevented alcohol-related harm and violence in Sydney.