Crown Resorts’ online sports betting arm, CrownBet will begin offering punters a chance to bet on the results of the lottery, just as if it were a sporting event, rather than purchase actual tickets. CrownLotto could go live any day according to a report in the Australian Financial Review. Crown Resorts is the majority stakeholder in CrownBet.
Crown would not be the first to take this approach and seem to be reacting to last month’s launch of William Hill’s Planet Lottery which is associated with Lottoland, which took the Australian market by storm when it launched in 2015 offering low commission rates. Lottoland is based in Gibraltar, whereas Crown is an Australian company headed by James Parker, a household name in Australia. The company hopes to cut into Lottoland’s reported A$1 million weekly revenues.
All of the alternative lotteries run in competition with Tatts Lottery, The Lott, which is the official lottery provider in Australia. TattsLotto, Powerball, and Oz Lotto games are available online.
CrownLotto would pay out jackpots and other prizes just as if a customer had an actual winning ticket. The method has already been proven and is several steps in concept away from online “lottery insurance” providers who compete with actual lottery messenger services like theLotter. When a person uses a messenger service, a representative physically enters a retail outlet and purchases tickets for online customers, as they did for the Iraqi man who won and was paid US$6.4 million for a ticket in the US Oregon lottery in late 2015.
A Crown spokesperson told the newspaper: “We’re launching these products to meet the clear and growing customer demand that is driven by huge jackpots in overseas draws,” according to the report. CrownLotto also said they would be donating a portion of its revenue to various community causes and is not seeking to take business from existing lottery retailers, rather convert younger customers to bet on local and international lottery draws.
Traditional lotteries are required to donate to community causes, whereas the newer mostly unregulated schemes do not. LottoLand has been criticized for cannibalizing retailers while not bolstering social programs.
According to the report, the federal government has been considering the launch of a national sports lottery, which could raise up to $50 million a year for the government. Sports Minister Greg Hunt previously said: “It’s something that in my time and on my watch I would like to see us achieve,” the AFR reported. “If it is legislated and highly regulated, and it’s a public-good lottery then that’s sensible.”
Tabcorp, one of the world’s largest publically traded companies and the purveyor of horse betting services at over 250 race-courses plus more than 2,500 retail betting outlets in New South Wales and Victoria will see a proposed merger with the Tatts lottery giant examined in court this week. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission along with CrownBet has raised objections to the $11 billion deal.