Tabcorp, the Australian gambling and entertainment giant, won a major political victory late Thursday when parliament banned Lottoland and other online competitors from operating lottery-betting websites.
Australia passed a landmark law that comes into force on 1 January 2019. The change applies to all websites that accept bets on the outcome of lotteries without requiring betters to buy a lottery ticket. The synthetic lottery sites have threatened the revenue of traditional lottery providers like Tatts Group lotteries, owned by Tabcorp.
Some newsagents who sell lottery tickets also welcomed the ban. They have been campaigning against Lottoland, based in Gibraltar, claiming that it is hovering up millions of dollars in state lottery taxes.
“This will protect Australia from synthetic lotteries and will bring important new consumer protections by closing the loophole that lotto betting sites have been operating out of,” said Adam Joy, chief executive of the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association.
“We now call on all synthetic lottery operators to do the right thing by Australians and cease offering these products immediately.”
Lottoland offers punters the option of betting on the outcome of the biggest lotto draws including EuroJackpot, Irish Lotto, Polish Lotto, four Australian lotteries and US lotteries MegaMillions and PowerBall. Lottoland passes on Customer’s Bets to EU Lotto, which is acting as a bookmaker.
The company employs 270 staff in more than 30 countries and has aggressively pursued the Australian market with a television advertising campaign.
Lottoland’s chief executive in Australia, Luke Brill, issued a statement saying that despite the new law the company was “here to stay”.
“As you would expect, 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,” he said.
“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."