On Tuesday, the Australian Financial Review reported that Crown’s online sports betting division CrownBet would launch its new CrownLotto online lottery as early as this week. CrownLotto will mimic Lottoland’s business model, in which players bet on the outcome of a traditional lottery draw rather than participate directly in the lottery draw.
CrownLotto aims to differentiate itself from Lottoland by offering punters a lower commission rate and thus a larger payout. A CrownBet spokesman told the AFR that the new lottery betting product was intended “to meet the clear and growing customer demand that is driven by huge jackpots in overseas draws.”
Lottoland made a splash down under by launching just as the US Powerball lottery was preparing to draw for its all-time record $1.6b prize in January 2016. Lottoland is now believed to be generating weekly revenue in excess of A$1m and last month the company inked a B2B deal with CrownBet rival William Hill Australia to add a lottery betting tab to the betting operator’s website.
Lottoland’s Australian operations have been publicly criticized by lottery retailers, who claim the company is cannibalizing their sales while not contributing a share of revenue to social causes, as traditional lotteries are required to remit.
CrownLotto aims to head these criticisms off at the pass by agreeing to contribute a share of its lottery betting earnings to community causes, while insisting that its launch will help expand the lottery market by attracting younger customers who’d rather conduct business digitally rather than visit a newsagent.
In addition to helping CrownBet maintain parity with William Hill, Crown Resorts’ interest in online lotteries fits within its broader mandate to focus on its domestic operations. Crown’s most recent annual report showed a steep drop in VIP gambling activity at its domestic land-based casinos.