Lottoland to stir more controversy with Melbourne Cup Day blitz

The Age 16/08/04 Business  rlh040816.001.001  Tattslotto Generic. Tatts. Lotto. Lottery.  Pic by Rebecca Hallas DIGICAM TATTS
The Age 16/08/04 Business rlh040816.001.001 Tattslotto Generic. Tatts. Lotto. Lottery. Pic by Rebecca Hallas DIGICAM TATTS

A controversial lottery-betting company will embark on a provocative advertising blitz in the run-up to Melbourne Cup Day, despite the widening political push in several states for the service to be banned.

Lottoland's marketing has been noticeably restrained since the start of the "Lottoland's Gotta Go" campaign, in which newsagents and gambling giant Tatts are attacking the "fake lottery" site for eating into the real lottery business and undercutting state tax revenue.

Governments in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and Western Australia have flagged plans to restrict services including Lottoland, which allow punters to bet on the outcomes of Australian lotteries and higher-value overseas lotteries without buying a ticket in the draw.

The James Packer-backed digital bookmaker CrownBet recently dumped its lottery-betting site, CrownLotto, just weeks after launching it.

CrownBet declined to comment on the decision, but is understood to have withdrawn the service following the concerns raised by state governments about lottery betting.

Tensions surrounding the contentious issue of online lottery betting in Australia are set to escalate again this week when Lottoland begins a new wave of TV, radio and online advertising for its latest campaign, "The Jackpot That Stops The Nation", which, it says, will give gamblers the chance to win a $100 million "jackpot" on Melbourne Cup Day.

Melbourne Cup Day is the biggest gambling day on the Australian calendar.

"Australia's best racehorses will compete for $6 million on the first Tuesday of November," a Lottoland statement says, "but Lottoland customers will have the chance to win a much more lucrative prize betting on Oz Lotto."

Lottoland's Australian chief executive, Luke Brill, said results would be based on the official Oz Lotto draw.

"Our innovative business model gives Australians more choice, bigger jackpots and faster payouts than ever before," he said.

"This jackpot is just another reason why Australians continue to flock to Lottoland."

The Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association disputed Lottoland's use of the word "jackpot", given Lottoland does not operate lotteries.

"Australians must remember, that despite its misleading name and misrepresented products, Lottoland does not operate lotteries," the group said, "and any attempts to appear as a lottery are deceptive and alternative facts."

Australian newsagencies claim Lottoland's "synthetic" lottery service is cutting into their livelihoods and eroding tens of millions of dollars in taxes that would otherwise pay for schools, hospitals and roads.

But Lottoland has condemned the large-scale campaign against it as a "smear campaign", orchestrated by the Tatts Group in order to protect its monopoly.

Since arriving in Australia about 18 months ago, Lottoland says it has built a local customer base of 600,000 punters.

Mr Brill rejected claims that Lottoland was cutting into newsagents' customer base, saying the the majority of Lottoland's customers were sports betters, who had never set foot inside a newsagency.

Last month, Lottoland proposed a "partnership" with newsagents, whereby it would ask registered members to nominate their newsagency to receive a 10 per cent cut of every bet the customer makes with Lottoland. Newsagents would be asked to put up Lottoland promotional material in their stores.

"The shift to online betting is a reality," Mr Brill said. "While companies like Tatts are busy using newsagents as pawns in a campaign to maintain their monopoly, we are proposing a model that puts cash back into small businesses."

This story Lottoland to stir more controversy with Melbourne Cup Day blitz first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.