Nightclubs that get extensions from the Liquor Licensing Board for special occasions often donate part of their proceeds to area charities.
‘It’s not legislated that they shall do that but it’s something they have been doing because it’s been a regular thing, especially with the holiday weekends where they get extensions on the Monday morning,’ said Liquor Licensing Board Chairman Mitchell Welds.
The practice came from a board recommendation several years ago.
‘This is what started it and this is what influenced the nightclubs to continue to do it because it had been recommended that they donate something to charity knowing that there was no fee from the Liquor Licensing office for these extensions. So the board felt the least they could do was donate something to charity if they were getting extra hours to open,’ he said.
The Board usually asks for a confirmation letter from the charities to confirm they have been offered part proceeds from the door.
‘We leave the percentage being donated to the nightclubs’ discretion,’ he said.
Sometimes club owners write cheques for charities before the event because they have an idea of what they will make, Mr. Welds said.
Several nightclubs have copied the cheque and sent it along with the documentation when submitting the application request for the extra hours.
Mr. Welds said the Board looks more favourably on a request if charities will benefit.
‘But that’s not to say that extensions are only granted when the licensee is prepared to make a donation to charity. That is not the case,’ he said.
Extensions have been granted for different occasions such as staff birthday celebrations or anniversaries of businesses.
Owner of the Next Level Nightclub and former owner of other clubs including The Matrix, Harry Lalli, says that every long weekend he would apply to open on Sunday from midnight until 3am and would give part of the proceeds to charity.
Hospice Care, the Humane Society and various sports teams have benefited.
Mr. Lalli said he has donated from 25 per cent to 50 per cent of the takings.
Mr. Lalli said he believes a donation makes the board look more favourably on the application, plus it makes the business look good. ‘It gives increased income to the business and to the staff on the night and it also raises money for a good cause,’ he said.
In addition to extension of hours, the chairman also considers applications for occasional licences, for which the law also provides. The chairman can issue them for functions like a concert that an organisation wants to have.
Mr. Welds explained that while the license has to be granted to an individual, he has to be satisfied that it’s for the organisation that they are applying and that the person is not doing it for personal gain.
‘In the case of a football club, the profits need to be going to the club instead of the individual who applies,’ he said.
Liquor Licensing Board
The Board, which usually has five members, including the chairman, is down to three following the resignations of Deputy Chairperson Lynn Bodden-Smatt and board member Ruth Williams.
New members have not been announced.
The board consists of Mr. Welds and board members Bernice Richards and Craig Nixon.
Mr. Welds has been chairman since 2002.
He said that sometimes people ask him why he serves as chairman, without any pay.
‘I guess it’s because I’ve served so long and I have so much experience that I feel my experience gives me an advantage over others. I enjoy it very much, despite the challenge.’