Zeal’s MyLotto24 to launch in Australia
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Zeal Network’s MyLotto24 will tomorrow (Friday) launch a synthetic lottery service in Australia and a partnership deal with one of the state’s newsagent representative bodies.
Although Zeal had previously expressed plans to enter the Australian market this year, given the Australian government introduced into parliament in late March a bill to ban all betting on lottery companies from the country, it was widely expected that it would abandon any such plans.
However, the company today announced it had obtained a licence from the Northern Territory and also set up a deal with the Victorian Newsagents Association (VANA) that will allow newsagents to offer its products via VANA's Nparcel payment system.
The group's 1,200 agents will receive 12% commission on initial deposits made in-store, as well as 3% from any deposits customers make online after having initially signed up via a store.
VANA's general manager, Chris Samartzis, said the partnership was an exciting development for Australian newsagents: “At a time where newsagents’ incomes are under pressure, this innovative opportunity gives them a brand-new way to generate additional revenue. It expands the range of products available, giving customers more choice and yet another reason to visit our stores. This new service is good news for customers, for the mums and dads who own and manage newsagencies across the country, and for the thousands of people they employ.”
Although one of Australia’s leading newsagent associations, the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA) has long campaigned for the government to ban secondary lottery operators such as Lottoland, which it has accused of taking money away from small newsagents, the representative body for agents in NSW and the ACT, Newsagents Association of NSW and ACT (NANA), recently offered a diverging view.
NANA called for the government to rethink the ban, saying it would give Tatts a virtual monopoly on online lottery sales in Australia. It also said it was considering entering into a partnership with Lottoland, which has been trying for some time to set up a profit-sharing deal to appease newsagents Down Under.
Although customers will also be able to bet directly via MyLotto24's site without a newsagent referral, Zeal is promoting the deal very much as one that will benefit newsagents, presumably in a bid to win over politicians and get the proposed legislation overturned.
MyLotto24 Australia's country manager Mikael Sundelin said: “As hundreds of thousands of customers will tell you, betting on international lotteries is a complementary add-on to traditional Australian lotteries. This pioneering partnership, a convergence of online and in-store, enables newsagents to benefit from lotto betting in a way that’s been previously closed to them.”
VANA's Samartzis said he felt the fact that newsagents were able to benefit from secondary lotteries meant there was no longer a need for “a heavy-handed ban on the entire Australian lottery betting market".
He added: “The unintended consequences of a blanket ban will only serve to erect a monopoly with zero competition in the market place. As part of this new service, newsagents – who the proposed bill purportedly seeks to protect – will be able to benefit now and into the future from lottery opportunities that complement existing Australian lotteries in a regulated and disciplined environment.”