Lottoland Sues Australian Government

Elouise Spencer - 10 June 2019

Lottoland has taken the extreme step of suing Australia's federal government. The operator initiated legal proceedings following the launch of an investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, or ACMA.

Product Ruled “Game of Chance"

The ACMA ultimately determined that the jackpot betting product offered by Lottoland, which was modified to comply with recent changed to gambling laws in Australia, is in fact a game of chance. These services have been deemed illegal under the reforms to the Interactive Gambling Act, or IGA, which came into effect in2017.

Lottoland's restructured product uses randomly selected financial market numbers, taken at specific times of the day, to create a single number. This new, larger figure is then converted into numbers that are drawn, lottery-style. The ACMA ruled that this is the same as the Monday to Thursday jackpots, the US Power and the US Millions products, all of which are prohibited by the IGA.

Lottoland Stands Firm

Since the international company initiated its new betting system as a direct result of Australia's prohibition of the traditional lotteries they had been offering, insiders have commented that Lottoland is probably feeling somewhat persecuted.

Their retaliation is thus not entirely unexpected, and most people were unsurprised when they took their plight to the Supreme Court in New South Wales. Their official position is that they are not offering jackpot betting – and that if their products are the ACMA definition of jackpot betting, the watchdog organisation is wrong.

Lottoland Australia's Chief Executive Officer Luke Brill said that his company has worked hard to adapt to the changes in Australian laws, and that they were committed to providing products that their customers would love. Brill added that by taking a stand against ACMA, Lottoland was fighting for “hundreds of thousands of Australians” who enjoyed recreational playing. The fight, he said, was for nothing less than freedom of choice.

Lottoland May Well Lose

Even with ACMA's latest antagonisms, Lottoland reports an Australian customer base of around 750,000. This success has made the company a serious threat to local provider Tabcorp, and to the newsagents and vendors that sell their tickets.

Some insiders have commented that this competition could be one of the motivations for the objections that the government has with Lottoland products. If this is indeed the case, the operator might not win in court no matter how legitimate their arguments are. In the end, the outcome could come down to politics.