Newsagents say sport lottery may dent hospital funding

The Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA) has warned that a proposed national lottery to fund athletes could be at the expense of funding for hospitals, schools, and infrastructure.

Every year, lotteries deliver $1.6 billion through lottery taxes to state and territory governments, supporting a range of public uses. As part of the National Sports Plan, a national lottery has been proposed to increase funding for Australian athletes and sport participation.

ALNA CEO Adam Joy says it doesn’t make sense to potentially take money from hospitals, schools, police, charities, small business and infrastructure to fund sport participation.

“Australian newsagents and lottery retailers are strong supporters of local sport across Australia,” he said. “In fact, they contribute more than $1 million each year to support local sports clubs and individual athletes. A national sports lottery could not only potentially take money from these 4,000-plus small business retailers and the 20,000 people they employ, but it could take away from state-government lottery taxes by redirecting some of that revenue to another lottery.”

ALNA has made a submission to the National Sports Plan consultation, offering alternative solutions that it says would potentially raise more money than the proposed model, such as a point-of-consumption tax model on all online-wagering companies, most of which are sports based.

Although it shares many of the goals the government is seeking to achieve in the National Sports Plan, ALNA says the proposed source of funding is of great concern given the lack of detail about the approach, including the regulatory and legal ramifications.

“We cannot support a proposal that is so light on detail and could pose a threat to thousands of businesses, funding for public good causes, and existing licensing agreements,” Mr Joy said.

According to ALNA, Australia has more than 4,000 independent, family-owned lottery retailers and newsagents, the industry employs more than 20,000 people and turns over $6 billion a year, and the businesses see 2.3 million people every day across the country.

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