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The Lottery Office and Lottoland on Opposite Sides of Investigations

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It seems Lottoland is in the news again for its jackpot betting. This form of betting has been offered by Lottoland since Australia recently banned a variety of internet gaming and overseas-based lotteries.

What Is Jackpot Betting?

Jackpot betting works based on financial markets, and people can bet by trying to match numbers with financial indexes. This is Lottoland’s way of getting around the latest laws, and it stands by the legality of what it offers.

However, many financial exchanges have filed formal complaints with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Regulators have been looking into jackpot betting, but nothing final has come from investigations thus far.

The Lottery Office, however, is now on board with the investigation. The Northern Territory-licenced lottery is ready to know the answers and supports the country’s regulator in its search.

Then, enter the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA), a group that has launched a campaign to delegitimise The Lottery Office. The ALNA says The Lottery Office operates in a grey area, similar to the one the latter accuses Lottoland of operating in.

The two situations are different, but The Lottery Office finds itself fighting both sides of the battle.

The Lottery Office Supports Lottoland Investigation

The Lottery Office has officially come out in support of regulators’ inquiries into Lottoland and its jackpot betting offerings. The Australian-owned organisation is the only licenced Northern Territory lottery operator online. The operator allows players to bet on lotteries around the world like Powerball and Mega Millions in the United States, and EuroMillions in Europe.

Jaclyn Mundy, General Manager of The Lottery Office, has given her support for a strictly-controlled environment. And she is concerned that people will confuse her company’s products with those from Lottoland:

“Some of the names that Lottoland is using for financial market betting, such as US Power, are obviously designed to look like its previous ‘lottery betting’ products, though its products based on financial market indices from around the world have nothing to do with lotteries. This may be confusing for consumers. Also, it is hard to tell from their advertising if what they offer really is ‘jackpot’ betting.”

Mundey’s concerns go beyond advertising, as her company is based in Australia, while Lottoland is not. “Because Lottoland is a wholly foreign company, this kind of conduct discourages investment in the Australian gambling industry and damages local licenced operators.”

ALNA Wants The Lottery Office Investigated

The new lottery law went into effect at the start of 2019. The ALNA has subsequently been very vocal about fighting the presence of operators like Lottoland and The Lottery Office.

A letter from ALNA CEO Ben Kearney asks the group’s members to keep their eyes on The Lottery Office; a new operator that began operating in the area where Lottoland once did. And Lottoland’s new offering is just as offensive to the ALNA as its previous business model.

The ALNA calls it a “carriage service or type of reseller”. That’s despite The Lottery Office operating under a Northern Territory licence.

The ALNA is seeking legal advice as to how to proceed. It is also seeking clarification as to how exactly companies like The Lottery Office and Lottoland skirt the Interactive Gambling Act. The group is working with regulators to aid their investigations in any way they can.

“We believe three regulators, including the nation’s corporate watchdog, are investigating Lottoland after it began offering this exotic new betting product based on financial markets following the federal prohibition that we championed on its international lottery betting business in Australia,” said Kearney.

Ongoing Investigations

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is investigating a complaint against Lottoland’s jackpot betting. Meanwhile, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is looking at Lottoland to see if its activities breach the law. And thirdly, Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has been seeking legal advice as well.

Kearney said the ALNA is “assessing the potential threat and likely impacts of these industry developments and taking appropriate actions.”

As for The Lottery Office’s response to the ALNA’s attacks, Mundey denied that she operates in a grey area. “We are licenced to operate our own lotteries just like Tatts and we’re required to buy the matching ticket; that’s what our licence says. We spent many years developing that and gaining all the necessary legal approvals.” She also added, “We’ve done a lot of work legally.”

As it stands, numerous company livelihoods and many customer habits depend on the outcome of these investigations. Those at Lottoland and the Lottery Office may be on different sides of their own battle. Nevertheless, they are both defending against groups like the ALNA and its legal power.