Following a lobby from newsagents in the country, the Australian parliament has banned lottery betting sites. Despite the ban, synthetic lottery operator Lottoland states it is “here to stay.”
The Australian parliament has formally approved a national ban on all websites accepting bets on the outcome of lottery draws.
The ruling, voted in on 29 June, will be enacted as of 1 January 2019, following a campaign by the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association to prevent the sites gaining a share of lottery sales revenue.
“This will protect Australia from synthetic lotteries,” said ALNA CEO Adam Joy. “We now call on all synthetic lottery operators to do the right thing by Australians and cease offering these products immediately.”
The law is designed to prevent companies offering synthetic lotteries, however Lottoland Australia, a major provider of the service, stated that customers would not necessarily be denied the service following the law change.
“Lottoland Australia is well advanced in looking at other ways we can continue to deliver choice to the 700,000 Australians who have registered with us over the past two years,” said Lottoland Australia chief executive Luke Brill.
“It is a great pity that the Senate did not give due consideration of the unintended consequences the new laws will have – not just on our customers, but on competition and innovation.”
Lottoland, registered in the country’s Northern Territory, has campaigned against the new law since its proposal under prime minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this year, stating in March that “the proposed legislation is both misguided and unnecessary.”
Australian communications minister Mitch Fifield, who was instrumental in pushing the ban through parliament, claimed the ruling would “protect more than 4000 small businesses” including “newsagents, pharmacies and community clubs,” an argument endorsed by ALNA.
Despite this, Brill noted that Lottoland “does not offer betting opportunities on any Australian lottery,” adding that in actuality the independent business stood to suffer from the ban.
“The legislation is bad news for Australian newsagents,” said Brill. “[They] will now be at the mercy of a huge, money-hungry monopoly in the form of Tatts Group, now owned by Tabcorp.”
In response, Tabcorp CEO David Attenborough criticised Lottoland for reportedly neglecting its community, adding the “the Victorian lottery delivers over $400m for the funding of hospitals, and over $100m to venues, newsagents and convenience stores.”
However, Brill added that Lottoland “contributes extensively to local and community groups,” before striking a positive prediction for the future of the company.
“This decision does not mean the end of Lottoland Australia. Far from it. We are here to stay.”