Online lottery betting operator Lottoland finds itself under threat in yet another Australian state while catching a break of sorts from the country’s competition watchdog.
On Wednesday, the state government in Tasmania became the latest Aussie jurisdiction to take steps to restrict Lottoland’s local operations. Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business Roger Jaensch announced that the state government was crafting legislation to ban the activities of so-called ‘synthetic’ lotteries.
Lottoland customers don’t actually participate in local and international lottery draws but can wager on the outcome of these draws for prizes equal to the value of those lottery jackpots. Jaensch said “this form of product is not welcome” in Tasmania and that “technical and legal work” on the anti-Lottoland legislation would begin “straight away.”
Lottoland’s ‘disruptive’ business model has proven a hit with customers pretty much everywhere the site operates, and has spawned a raft of imitators, including the online betting arm of Aussie casino operator Crown Resorts.
But local lottery operators, retailers and politicians are adamantly opposed to Lottoland, and Tasmania’s plan to block Lottoland’s operations is being cheered by the 92 outlets authorized to sell lottery products in the state. South Australia already prohibits lottery betting operations, while New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia are considering following suit.
ACCC WASHES HANDS OF LOTTOLAND QUESTION
It’s not all bad news for Lottoland Australia, as the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has dismissed a Labor Party call to investigate whether Lottoland’s activities breached consumer law by misleading customers into thinking they were directly participating in the lottery on which they were betting.
Similar complaints led the UK Gambling Commission to impose a £150k fine on Lottoland this summer but the Australian quoted an ACCC spokesperson saying the Labor party request was a matter for state governments to handle.
CEO SAYS LOTTOLAND WILL GO DOWN SWINGING
Lottoland Australia CEO Luke Brill recently traveled to Western Australia to lobby the state government to tax Lottoland’s operations rather than ban the company outright. Brill said his Northern Territory-licensed company is “fully supportive” of a 15% point-of-consumption tax to balance out any potential loss of revenue flowing to government coffers or charitable causes.
Brill also suggested a revenue-sharing plan with lottery retailers, in which a customer registering with Lottoland would also register with a local newsagent “and we’ll put some money back into them. We have built in a margin in our product that we can pay those commissions.”
Brill remains defiant, saying “the dirty tactics that have been used against us are pretty rough” but, having spent “blood, sweat and tears” building up Lottoland’s business since its January 2016 Australian launch, Brill insists that if Lottoland’s going down, it will go down swinging.