Private Compliance Checks

Private Compliance Checks

Once approved by the Board, retail liquor licensees may conduct their own compliance checks using minors, under specific guidelines. (RCW 66.44.290, chapter 314-21 WAC)

Licensees who conduct private compliance checks, or “in-house controlled purchase programs,” can improve their employee training on preventing the sale of alcohol to minors. In a controlled situation, the licensee would hire an 18, 19 or 20 year old person to attempt to purchase alcohol.

Before conducting private compliance checks the following apply:

  • Licensees must receive prior written approval from the Liquor Control Board before conducting a controlled purchase program.
  • Licensees can use their own employees or can contract with a third party to conduct a controlled purchased program.
  • It is the licensee’s responsibility to ensure the program meets the requirements of the law and rules.

Chapter 314-21 WAC outlines specific guidelines for controlled purchase programs. For more information, contact your local enforcement office.


This article is an excerpt from the Handbook for Excellent Restaurant Operations (HERO), published by the Washington Hospitality Association.  Want a hard copy of the whole manual?  It’s one of the many benefits of becoming a member!  Find out more about joining the Washington Hospitality Association here.

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