- Lottoland has won a court case in Australia defeating the media regulator, ACMA
- Lotteries aren’t a game of skill, the company proves
- Lottoland possibly erodes tens of millions of Australian dollars for local lottery operators
Lottoland has won a court battle against the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) disproving that lotteries are a “game of chance”
Lottoland Wins in Court, Proves Lottery Isn’t Gambling
Lottoland, the beleaguered European lottery operator, has won an important court battle in Australia, defeating the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) at the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
ACMA targeted Lottoland when it became known that the operator had been extracting numbers from financial markets at fixed times of the day, borrowing the numbers for the lottery draw. Specifically, the Australian regulator introduced a new provision at the beginning of 2019 that prohibited operators to target Australian nationals with any sort of lottery betting games.
In June, ACMA reached a decision that Lottoland’s lottery was a game of chance which was also prohibited under active Australian statutes and specifically under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.
Let Australians Place a Flutter, Lottoland Says
While the case may be coming to a conclusion today, August 16, Lottoland opened proceedings as early as June 7, arguing that the Gibraltar-based company was fighting for the right of hundreds of thousands of Australians to satiate their hunger for “the occasional flutter”.
Lottoland also remonstrated against the spate of legal changes that Australia had seen by that point, prompting the company to take a stand and argue against the blanket-ban imposed by different regulators.
There is some controversy however. Lottoland has been caught in a storm of criticism directed at the operator for reportedly biting into the profits of local lottery vendors and depriving them of potentially tens of millions worth of revenue.
Are Jackpots Legal?
Addressing the situation, Lottoland has argued that jackpot betting shouldn’t be part of the prohibition, as it isn’t in the United States, for example. Specifically, Lottoland said that lotteries weren’t betting’ and therefore the Interactive Gambling Act didn’t apply in this instance.
The court in New South Wales took Lottoland’s position, arguing that the lottery wasn’t in fact a game and that participants weren’t making a bet. Here is what the ruling stated in detail:
“The term bet, can in some circumstances involve the formation of an opinion, on the part of the person betting. However, in the case of the impugned products, the process of selection of the customer number appears somewhat entirely mechanical, i.e. it is pure guesswork. It is difficult to see how any skill could be involved in selecting the numbers.”
Furthermore, the court argued that the lottery was de facto void of any participation and that the process was completely independent of the people who bought tickets. Therefore, the lottery couldn’t be considered a game, because a game requires some form of participation to move the game forward, the court added.
“To play a game, further indicates to me, a sense of positive action on the part of the participant. There must be a level of interaction in the sense that a participant’s actions to some extent affect the outcome of the activity.”
Deliberating on the issue, the presiding judge explained that should the court have sided with the regulator, that would have broadened the significance of the word “game” to the point where it would include activities that are not necessarily related in any way.