Lottoland Australia has proposed what it says would be a world-first partnership model with newsagents, offering benefits from its 600,000-customer base.
Under the proposed deal, when registering with Lottoland, customers would be asked to select their local newsagent. Those newsagents that opt in to the model would, according to Lottoland, receive a 10 per cent cut of every bet a customer that nominates them makes with the online betting company.
In return for the cut, newsagents are being asked to advertise Lottoland in-store through promotional material such as posters and flags. Lottoland says advertising in-store would be limited to international lotteries, a market currently inaccessible for newsagents.
“Lottoland has listened to Australian newsagents and this model is recognition that we need to work together,” Lottoland CEO Luke Brill said. “Newsagents will always have a longstanding cultural link to lotteries, but, as it stands, there is no infrastructure for them to take advantage of overseas lotteries and online betting. This needs to change.
“Every bet on an overseas lottery is incremental revenue, part of which can now flow fairly to newsagents. This model complements in-store lottery purchases and opens a channel for these businesses to benefit from the emerging pool of ‘online only’ punters.”
The Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA) has dimissed the proposal, claiming Lottoland is trying to “siphon newsagents’ customers and community goodwill”.
“It is an offer to make commercial gains from newsagents, and it is an idea that is still light on detail and assurances,” ALNA CEO Adam Joy said.
“It proposes to try to take customers away from news and lottery agents and leverage the goodwill they have with their customers, by using their store as an advertising platform for the online bookmaker, while sending customers to Lottoland. And it does not factor in the lack of trust that newsagents have because of how Lottoland operates and has conducted itself.”
Mr Joy says Lottoland has spent 18 months “denigrating” newsagents.
“A partnership requires trust and usually does not involve a party that is aggressively trying to detract from the other party’s livelihood,” he said. “They have repeatedly said that they are not targeting the customers of newsagents, yet this idea does exactly that.
“The facts are that Lottoland is under pressure because it has chosen to operate as an online bookmaker that poses as a lottery, outside of the much tighter regulations, consumer protections, and higher taxes that official regulated lotteries adhere to.
“It has attracted criticism because it allows consumers to be misled by using almost identical branding and product names to official lotteries. In fact, the bookmaker has faced legal action for misusing official lotteries trademarks, and it has admitted that it markets its business as close to IP replication as it can.
“The bookmaker uses concerning tactics to attempt hijack to customers from news and lottery agents, and its marketing is positioned around newsagents and leverages the branding and IP of official lotteries. And now this latest idea proves that they are in fact targeting newsagents’ customers.
“It would appear that Lottoland’s recent offerings are really desperate token gestures and a PR stunt, rather than a solution to a problem that not only affects news and lottery agents, but also affects consumers who are misled, and communities that lose out on state revenue tax that helps fund roads, schools, hospitals, charities and more,” Mr Joy said.
Newsagents have communicated with the ALNA that it does not trust Lottoland and feedback so far has been that it does not consider this a genuine or helpful idea. The ALNA will continue to listen to its news and lottery agent members, and will share the feedback it receives.