Newsagents issue warning about synthetic online lotto sites

LOTTO CAMPAIGN: Damian Hargreaves and Stephen Parker at Greengate Newsagency.
LOTTO CAMPAIGN: Damian Hargreaves and Stephen Parker at Greengate Newsagency.

Orange newsagents are warning customers about the differences between lotteries and synthetic lottery sites.

The newsagents have joined a campaign led by the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA) against the online sites, which they say are misleading consumers.

The campaign was launched in September to urge governments to crack down and inform consumers about the differences between regulated lotto draws and online-only bookmakers, also known as lotto bets.

The synthetic lottery sites do not offer tickets in a draw, rather they offer consumers the chance to bet on the outcomes of regulated lotteries.

The campaign is already celebrating a win, after the NSW government announced it was considering options to restrict the operation of synthetic lotteries.

Greengate Newsagency owner Stephen Parker said there has been some confusion among customers since the lotto bets began to be advertised on TV. 

“What they are advertising on TV and what they get is two different things,” Mr Parker said.

He said the online betting was based off-shore whereas tax is collected from the regulated lottery.

Along with putting up signage in his newsagency he said there has also been a petition that was sent to parliament to have the laws changed and even the playing field.  

He said the issue has recently become an issue in regional areas because the lotto bets were advertised less here than they were in the city, but the advertising is now more widespread.

Deputy Premier and Small Business Minister John Barilaro said online synthetic lotteries do not have the same level of consumer protection as domestic lotteries.

“Our concern is that many customers buy tickets in a synthetic lottery, believing they’re entering a lottery, when in fact they are instead betting on the outcome of that lottery,” Mr Barilaro said.

“A domestic lottery has a guaranteed prize pool, and is bound by strict terms and conditions and robust regulations.

“A synthetic lottery, on the other hand, is no more than online gambling.”

ALNA chief executive Adam Joy said ALNA also wanted to see wagering on the outcomes of lotteries banned.

“This decision is necessary to ensure that more than 1300 news and lottery agents in NSW, along with their employees, can continue operating with certainty within the regulated framework of NSW Lotteries,” Mr Joy said.

“Online bookmaking sites that offer bets on lottery outcomes threaten the significant state tax revenue generated by lotteries, hurt small business, and in many cases are misleading to consumers.”