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It is a common misconception that the RSL is a club where people go for beer, poker machines, well-priced meals and entertainment. In Queensland, this is not the case. In the majority of cases, RSL Clubs are not associated with the Returned & Services League of Australia – they are separate commercial entities that carry the RSL name.
The easiest way to make the distinction is to remember that the League – comprising Sub Branches, Districts and RSL (Queensland Branch) – exists to provide wellbeing and welfare assistance to current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel and their families. The Clubs are licensed entertainment venues which may or may not provide some of their proceeds to the League.
When you join an RSL club, you are entitled to entry, and sometimes rewards, at a licensed venue. To join the League, you must be, or have been, a member of the Defence forces, and your membership connects you back to your military family.