Lottery betting operator Lottoland has accused the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA) of wilfully misleading the public and urged the government to review the proposed ban on lottery betting in Australia.
The ALNA has led a multi-million dollar campaign against lottery betting operators, claiming that they jeopardise the livelihoods of its 4,000 members, who rely on the commission derived from the sale of authorised state lottery products.
However, in a statement released Tuesday, Lottoland accused the association of misleading both the public and government about its membership and motives.
The company said that based on previously unpublished information obtained from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the ALNA has only 707 paid members and is facing "financial ruin".
“These ASIC documents raise serious questions about the financial situation at ALNA and its ability to continue to operate as a going concern, let alone to represent the interest of its members,” said Lottoland Australia chief executive Luke Brill.
“We’re shocked and disappointed to find out that a body that the Government believes has over 4,000 newsagents nationally as members has in fact only 707 paid members – about 80 per cent less than claimed. This raises major questions about the true intent of ALNA and whether it has misled not just the Government and others MPs, but whether it has also misled the public.”
Brill accuses the ALNA of acting against the interests of newsagents by advocating for laws that would hand Tatts (now Tabcorp) an unprecedented monopoly, and has appealed to the government to reconsider the proposed legislation before it is too late.
The proposed legislation would amend Australia's Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) to "prohibit betting on the outcome, or a contingency that may or may not happen in the course of the conduct of a lottery, including a keno draw".
In announcing the proposed legislation, the Australian government said that it would serve to protect the 4,000 retailers in the country who rely on lottery commission to cover the costs of running a business, and safeguard the AUD$1bn in tax revenue currently received by states and territories.
The bill specifically prohibits gambling providers from offering players in Australia a service for placing bets on the outcome of domestic or international lotteries, or a contingency that may or may not happen in the course of the conduct of a lottery.
In order to win over retailers, Lottoland has offered to pay a commission of 20 per cent of profits to Australian retailers for every bet referred to the company, an offer described by the ALNA as "nothing more than a desperate PR stunt".
“Rather than address the shocking state of its financial affairs, ALNA has inexplicably taken part in a $5 million lobbying campaign to convince the Government to ban online lottery betting, which will leave newsagents at the mercy of a Tabcorp monopoly,” Brill concluded.
“Given these revelations, we are asking the Government to put a stop to the planned legislation and start listening to newsagents on the ground.”