Could Lottoland be heading for a ban in Western Australia? A Q&A with CEO Luke Brill

Could Lottoland be heading for a ban in Western Australia? A Q&A with CEO Luke Brill

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 Posted by Craig Davies
Mark McGowan, WA Premier, is leading those speaking out against the online betting agency

Lottoland, the online betting agency, has called for a change in Australian tax infrastructure that would allow it to give back to the state of Western Australia (WA), instead of banning the company altogether.

Premier of WA Mark McGowan has stated that while, in theory, Lottoland could pay a consumption tax, they could still potentially be taking large amounts of money away and giving little back in comparison.

This followed revelations by Lotterywest, a state owned lottery operator, who highlighted a significant drop in the number of Western Australians buying lottery tickets, contributing to drop of over AU$60m in sales revenue in the last financial year.

TotallyGaming.com has spoken to Lottoland CEO Luke Brill about the claims, potential compromises and consumer demands in 2017.

Totally Gaming: What do you make of the suggestion that Lottoland is contributing to the dropping revenue of Lotterywest?

Luke Brill: Claims that Lottoland is to blame for Lotterywest’s slump in profits are unfounded.

Our alleged impact on Lotterywest doesn’t add up, as nation-wide we account for less than one per cent of the lottery market. Our business simply isn’t large enough to come anywhere close to being responsible for Lotterywest’s slump last financial year.

That being said, we appreciate that Lotterywest plays an important part in building the community through the taxes it raises. Lottoland wants to play its part too, and that’s why we are supporting the State government’s plan to introduce a 15 per cent point-of-consumption tax.

Over the next five years we estimate we will pay taxes in the realm of $50 million, much of which could flow back to Western Australia.

If they put a tax in place, we’ll happily pay it.

TG: Could a compromise be reached that does not result in a ban in WA? And if so how?

LB: Absolutely, and we feel the state government’s point-of-consumption tax is a fair compromise. As it stands, existing tax infrastructure means Lottoland can only pay tax in the Northern Territory where we are licensed.

This needs to change so we can give back to Western Australia and its people.

Also, it’s important to remember that every punt on an international lottery is potential incremental revenue for state governments. Approximately 70 per cent of the bets Lottoland takes are on international lotteries, which you can’t buy a physical ticket for in a newsagency.

The majority of Lottoland’s customers have never bought a lottery ticket in a newsagency, and are largely online sports bettors who are embracing new technologies.

We are attracting a whole new audience to lotteries, who may otherwise be betting on everything else from the horses to politics or even the weather.

By doing this, we are growing the pie and creating new revenue streams for state governments.

TG: Is an online service, such as this, what a consumer demands in 2017?

LB: In the space of 18 months, Lottoland has grown our customer base to 600,000 Australians. We are one of the fastest growing businesses in the country and that’s because there is a strong demand for our product.

Newsagents will always have a role to play in selling in-store tickets, but we [are] attracting a new audience who prefer to punt online.

Despite a $5 million dollar campaign run by competitor Tatts against Lottoland, they too are moving more and more of their services online.

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