Lottery betting to be banned in all forms

Lottery betting, or synthetic lotteries will be banned in Australia under new legislation slated to be introduced on Wednesday, local media reports.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has announced the Turnbull government will introduce legislation tomorrow, citing the threat that lottery betting poses to traditional lottery distributors in the country.

Reported by The Australian, Senator Fifield said the government was of the view that synthetic lottery “undermines the long-standing community acceptance of official lottery and keno products.”

“Traditional lotteries and keno games are popular and long-standing recreational gambling products that form an important income stream for thousands of small businesses across Australia, including newsagents, pharmacies, pubs and community clubs,” he said.

“They also generate significant taxation revenue for state and territory governments, helping to fund schools, hospitals, public transport and roads.”

Fifield warned that online gambling companies that allowed betting on lottery outcomes generated “considerable community concern”.

“The Government has listened carefully to a range of groups that have views on the undesirability of permitting betting on these products,” he said.

“Many Australians enjoy lotteries and keno as a recreational activity, and the Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring that gambling takes place under a robust legislative framework with strong consumer protections and within the boundaries of community standards.”

The new legislation is set to take place six months after passing through parliament to allow for an appropriate transition period, and will ban the provision of lottery betting services on both domestic and international lotteries.

Lottoland, a Gibraltar-based lottery betting provider had been under heavy fire from a number of state governments, subsequently barred from taking bets on domestic Australian lotteries.

The new amendments will be the final nail in the coffin for lottery betting providers, as it will bar lottery betting companies from “placing, making, receiving or acceptance of bets” on the outcome of “Australian and overseas lottery draws”.

The Interactive Gambling Amendment (Lottery Betting) Bill 2018 also clarifies that a Keno-type lottery is considered “an example of a lottery and therefore included in the prohibition on lottery betting services”.

The Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association, which represents more than 4000 businesses employing more than 15,000 people, welcomed the proposed amendment to the Interactive Gambling Bill, saying the news came as a “relief”.

“We are pleased to see this loophole being addressed on a national level,” said ALNA chief executive Adam Joy in a statement.

“The best kind of consumer protection from synthetic lotteries is to not allow it in our country. The model encourages problem gambling, promotes high-risk spending, and is misleading regarding the winnings available.”

In a statement, Lottoland Australia CEO Luke Brill said, “While we understand the concerns expressed by some newsagents, the proposed legislation is both misguided and unnecessary.

“The fact is that Lottoland does not offer betting opportunities on any Australian lottery, so our offering does not have a direct impact on newsagents.

“On the contrary, we want to work with newsagents to provide customers with greater choice and even better services, which have the potential to be highly beneficial for individual newsagents.

“As a responsible and responsive corporate citizen that contributes extensively to local and community groups, we will continue to work closely with regulators and all political parties to reach a satisfactory outcome in the best interest of our more than 650,000 registered customers.”