Online lottery betting operator Lottoland’s Australian division is under threat from state governments looking to defend traditional lottery retailers.
On Monday, the Herald Sunreported that three Australian state governments – Victoria, Western Australian and Queensland – were considering imposing new regulatory curbs on Lottoland’s business model, in which players wager on the outcome of local and international lottery draws.
South Australia’s Independent Gambling Authority has already prohibited Lottoland from conducting business in the state, based on the regulator’s view that Lottoland is cannibalizing local lottery sales without remitting the same amount of revenue in taxes and contributions to social and community causes.
Victoria’s government is reportedly convinced that Lottoland’s operations will result in a A$90m reduction in the state’s share of lottery revenue over the next three years. However, the federal government reportedly remains as yet unconvinced on the immediate need to restrict Lottoland’s operations.
Lottoland was issued an online betting license by Australia’s Northern Territory in January 2016. The Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA) soon mounted a campaign encouraging the federal government to impose a nationwide ban.
This weekend, the ALNA upped the ante, announcing that lottery operator Tatts Group had launched a Lottoland’s Gotta Go! campaign to ban “fake lotto betting.” Tatts is providing retailers with a variety of point-of-sale display products, including posters (pictured) warning customers that “Lottoland could destroy our business” and that “Lottoland does not support local schools, hospitals or roads.” There are also commercial spots (viewable below) featuring lottery retailers attesting to their value to the community.
The ALNA posted a message to its official site urging retailers to participate in the campaign, while assuring them that “ALNA has sought and obtained legal protection for you from Tatts Group to participate as per the campaign instructions … If Lottoland tries to take any action against you, you are indemnified by Tatts Group against any action and cost.”
Lottoland Australia CEO Luke Brill called the Tatts/ALNA campaign “monopolistic behavior” and insisted that his company had taken measures to ensure customers understood that Lottoland wasn’t a traditional lottery operator.
Lottoland’s UK operations are under similar attack by National Lottery operator Camelot, who has blamed falling sales on Lottoland’s ‘disruptive’ business model. In March, the UK government announced the launch of an open consultation into whether lottery betting ran “contrary to the spirit and intention” of local lottery rules. In June, UK regulators fined Lottoland £150k for failing to adequately explain to customers the nature of its business model.