- »Lottoland Wins Second 2020 Case from Powerball Claims
Lottoland Wins Second 2020 Case from Powerball Claims
Lottoland is no stranger to controversy and legal battles, but as in major cases in its past, the international lottery host prevailed again.
Two cases in 2020 involved Australian customers filing complaints regarding deceptive conduct regarding jackpots. Players who thought they registered for a particular jackpot but later found out they did not win took Lottoland to task. And Lottoland won both times.
First 2020 Case of Ms. B
Ms. B enjoyed wagering on Lottoland. In 2019, she believed she bought two online lotto tickets with a particular combination of numbers for a Powerball drawing. Her numbers then matched the winning Powerball numbers.
She thought she won $126 million.
When she contacted Lottoland to declare herself the winner, however, the representative told her that she actually bought online lotto numbers for THU Jackpot. Those numbers only won $15.
Ms. B was incensed, claiming that Lottoland practiced deceitful marketing by using branding for THU Jackpot that was similar to that of Powerball. She appealed the Lottoland decision to the Northern Territory Racing Commission.
That regulator took the case under advisement in 2020 and ruled for Lottoland.
Not only had Lottoland not sold tickets to Powerball (or other Australian-based lotteries) since late 2017, its representatives told her exactly that. She had asked for European lottery availabilities just 10 days before placing her THU bets, and Lottoland told her it was not exactly a lottery but a bet on financial market outcomes.
Second 2020 Case of Mr. O
Earlier this year, Mr. O went to the Lottoland website and picked numbers for a drawing that he believed was the United States Powerball contest. In fact, he entered a “US Power” drawing instead.
When his numbers appeared in the US Powerball drawing, Mr. O. believed he won $238 million. When he discovered otherwise, he complained that Lottoland’s use of the words “US Power” were too similar to “US Powerball” and was deceitful.
Lottoland responded, again, that it is honest about its drawings and uses logos that emphasize their uniqueness. It also noted that it has not used the word “Powerball” since 2016. And, as mentioned above, Lottoland hasn’t sold tickets to any “Powerball” competition since 2017.
Mr. O claims that Lottoland is guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct. He filed a claim with the Northern Territory Racing Commission.
Again, though, the NTRC rejected the claim. Not only on the same basis as the previous case, but also based on the timing of Mr. O’s bet. He placed his bet shortly after the actual US Powerball drawing occurred.
Ultimately, the regulator noted, “The commission is satisfied that no monies are payable to the complainant by Lottoland in respect of that lawful bet.”
Wins on Top of Wins
Lottoland is no stranger to legal and regulatory disputes.
One regarded citizenship, as a man living in Perth played and picked numbers that should have awarded him $201 million. However, the ticket was voided because he was a legal citizen of Sri Lanka, a country excluded from playing on Lottoland.
The other was a time issue. Mr. G placed a bet by choosing numbers to win based on the US-based Mega Millions (no longer available on Lottoland), but he played them an hour and 27 minutes late. Lottoland applied the bet to the next draw, but Mr. G said he didn’t receive the message.
Lottoland won both of those cases.
Win Against ACMA
Lottoland’s biggest challenge, however, came via a challenge from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The government body declared Lottoland illegal in June 2019 under the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001.
The lotto company chose to fight and took the case to the New South Wales Supreme Court.
And Lottoland won. The court’s ruling stated that players betting on Lottoland do so without the element of chance, that Lottoland is legal because the winning numbers rely on the outcome of an event, not a game. The jackpot betting provided by Lottoland consisted of none of the “traditional elements of games.”
Therefore, the ACMA could not declare it illegal under the Interactive Gambling Act.
ALNA Raises Concerns
ABC spoke to Ben Kearney, CEO of the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA), about the most recent rulings in favor of Lottoland.
“These examples show us that consumers are potentially confused by these products,” Kearney said, “thinking that they’ve bought something that they haven’t.” He explained further that Lottoland tries to come off as an independent lottery but does not draw its own numbers as traditional lotto operators do.
The comments were no surprise, as the ALNA has long sought to criminalize Lottoland’s activities. Since the ALNA represents lottery vendors around the country, ones that make money only from state-sponsored lotteries, it believes that Lottoland takes money from its members…illegally.
The ALNA has spent years trying to disparage Lottoland in public campaigns, going so far as to buy television commercials to encourage customers to avoid Lottoland.
Lawmakers have also introduced legislation through the years to try to put Lottoland out of the Australian market, but the legal points are tricky. And every time Lottoland has defended its business model in courts, it wins.
Lottoland, on the other hand, did try to work with newsagents to provide a profit-sharing deal via commissions, but the ALNA has not engaged in that discussion on behalf of its members.