Earlier this year, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) determined that the majority of Lottoland’s products violated Australian gambling laws. Lottoland then filed a lawsuit in NSW Supreme Court.]
On Friday, the court ruled against the ACMA and determined that Lottoland’s Jackpot Betting product did not violate gambling laws because it involves wagering on events rather than a game of chance. This will allow the online lotto retailer to operate in Australia.
Jackpot Betting Not a Game of Chance Per Court
The decision from the NSW Supreme Court came down late Friday and was soundly in Lottoland’s favor. Lottoland’s Jackpot Betting product permits online casino gamblers to enter numbers like a standard lotto game, but instead of a random draw, the outcome is based on results from global financial markets.
This key difference ended up being the difference for Justice John Sackar who stated that the products were permissible under Australian gambling law because the outcome was for an event rather than a game. Why is this important? Under Australian gambling laws, citizens are permitted to bet on events, such as the results of an election.
Sackar continued that, “A game must, in my view, be more than the simple process by which a person parts with his/her money with a chance of finance return.” Standard online casino games, such as blackjack, involve some level of interaction from players.
If you are thinking that this reasoning is a bit thin, we would concur. However, it’s all that matters in this case as the ruling puts this issue to rest.
Lottoland Can Continue Operating in Australia
This was a big win for Lottoland, as has they failed to get the ACMA’s ruling overturned, it would have meant the end of their business in Australia. Lottoland has contended since the beginning that its products complied with the Australia Gambling Code.
Luke Brill, chief executive for Lottoland Australia, spoke about the matter, stating that the original view held by the ACMA was “wrong, unfair, and uncompetitive.” He further stated that “With the matter now settled, Lottoland Australia can finally get on with what it does best – providing new and exciting products that Australian punters love.”
Back when the company first announced their lawsuit, Brill told reporters that jackpot betting was just the first in a series of games that the company plans to launch by the end of the year. Now that they have legal standing for event-style gambling on their side, Lottoland will be able to release new products without fear of reprisal.
Lottoland Not Popular With Government and Other Licensed Agencies
Controversy has swelled around Lottoland since they launched their Australian operation in 2014. Since then, they have faced backlash from lottery operators and others. Those opposing Lottoland are claiming that their business is cutting into the profits of licensed operators such as Tabcorp and taking away tax revenue from the government.
Lotto and lotto-style products are subject to the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, just the way that Australian online casinos are. The difference is that Lotto operators can operate within Australia’s borders, provided they follow regulations to the letter
Online casino operators are not permitted to physically operate in Australia or its territories. However, this does not prevent Australian residents from playing at online casinos that operate internationally. This lack of enforcement is one reason that lawmakers are seeking to tighten gambling code.
For now, the only thing they can do is to target those companies operating in Australia and ensure they follow the code to the letter. Unfortunately, this means companies like Lottoland will come under increased scrutiny for every new product they release.