BUSINESS

Australia eyes lottery funding for 2020 Tokyo Olympics quest

TAGs: Australia, Leonard Postrado, Lottery

Australia is learning a thing or two on the importance of lottery from its former colonizers.

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) is eyeing to duplicate the UK’s national lottery scheme, which was cited as the key to the successful campaign of British athletes in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Australia eyes lottery funding for 2020 Tokyo Olympics questAustralia sits in the tenth place with eight golds, 11 silver, and 10 bronze medals at the conclusion of summer Olympics on Monday. UK, on the other hand, has rewritten their Olympic history, moving ahead of China into second place in the Rio 2016 medal tally with 27 golds, 23 silver and 17 bronze medals.

Some British newspapers said that part of success of the UK sports program goes back to the battle that former Prime Minister John Major had in 1991 to start the National Lottery. The British Lottery System was set up in 1994, with 50 per cent of returns going back to the prize pool, 28 per cent to “good causes” and 12 per cent to the government.

Drawing inspiration from UK’s success, the ASC pointed out that a similar national lottery scheme in Australia will not only help fund the training of their athletes but also make it possible for their country to reach its ambitious target for a top-five finish in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

ASC chairman John Wylie urged the Federal Government to find alternate revenue streams – like the national lottery – since it is unwilling to spend more on sports.

“It is absolutely clear to me going forward that with no (government) funding increases in seven years, if Australia wants to remain competitive in world sport the financial challenge is increasing and the funding of sport has to increase,” ASC chairman John Wylie said, according to the news report.

Wylie pointed out that the AU$134 million (US$101.69 million) distributed by Australia’s Winning Edge funding program pales in comparison with the $476 million (US$ 361.24 million) given by UK’s national lottery scheme.

“Other countries are investing more and the environment is much more competitive, and we owe it to our athletes to provide the necessary support,” the ASC chair said.  “More funding will be needed and we have to think about where that funding will come from, so we want to look at a sports lottery. We are going to look at it very, very seriously.”

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