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Monday, 26 March 2018
Page: 2180


Senator O'NEILL (New South Wales) (20:42): Labor is sympathetic to the concerns behind the amendment moved by Senator Patrick and is consulting with stakeholders on the issues that relate to Lottoland. Labor acknowledges concerns about the impact of Lottoland on consumers and small business and its implications for regulatory and tax structures in Australia. As Labor said in the Senate during the debate on the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill last year, Labor are sympathetic to the concerns about Lottoland and we understand that Lottoland is a fast-growing online bookmaker in Australia. It is licensed in the Northern Territory and has a foreign parent company. Lottoland invites consumers to bet online on the outcome of a lottery but isn't itself an official lottery but a so-called synthetic lottery.

On 27 September, Labor wrote to the chairman of the ACCC to convey concerns about representations made by companies that offer betting on lottery results, such as Lottoland, that may mislead or deceive consumers into believing that they are purchasing a lottery ticket or directly participating in a lottery, and we invited the ACCC to investigate whether consumer law has been breached. In response to Labor's letter, on 25 October 2017 the ACCC undertook to continue to review developments and complaints received in relation to Lottoland. More recently, in November 2017, the Labor government of the Northern Territory moved to ban Northern Territory licensed bookmakers, including Lottoland, from accepting bets on the outcomes of Australian based lotteries.

But this is not the end of the matter. Like many other sectors, newsagencies and lottery retailers have been very disrupted by digitisation. The sale of official lottery tickets remains a key element of the newsagency business model and contributes to state and territory revenues via lottery taxes. Online betting bookmakers which allow customers to bet on the outcome of official lotteries such as Lottoland have implications for traditional business models and related consumer protection, regulatory and tax structures which deserve closer examination. We note that a number of other jurisdictions around Australia have acted to deal with the issue of betting on the outcome of a lottery and we note the grassroots campaign Lottoland's Gotta Go! has effectively raised the profile. Labor is currently looking into these issues. We do have real concerns about betting on the outcome of a lottery, but we're not in a position to support this second reading amendment this evening. I indicate for the record that Labor will continue to consult further on this issue.