The Gibraltar-based online lottery wagering platform LottoLand is suing the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) after the regulatory watchdog tagged the company’s “Jackpot Betting” product as a prohibited game of chance.
Per the LottoLand website’s description, Jackpot Betting lets players wager on seemingly random strings of numbers created by worldwide financial markets:
“Betting on the outcome of selected financial markets … to match your selected numbers with data taken from indices at a specified time.”
In laymen’s terms, LottoLand assesses markets like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and uses their total value to create a long string of numbers. These numbers are then converted via random number generator (RNG) to create a final set of winning numbers, and when a player’s chosen numbers match up, they win various prizes.
What is Jackpot Betting and Why is it Banned?
Jackpot Betting was introduced by LottoLand in January of this year after a government strictly opposed to online gambling in Australia passed laws specifically designed to ban the company’s primary product.
LottoLand was conceived as a worldwide lottery wagering clearinghouse of sorts. By allowing users to choose numbers for various global lotteries, including PowerBall and EuroMillions, LottoLand uses a multimillion-dollar insurance fund to pay out when winners beat the odds. By using the insurance model, LottoLand is able to provide international online lottery services even though players aren’t technically participating in actual lotteries.
But last June, the Australian Parliament passed laws banning LottoLand from offering those services Down Under.
Those restrictions prompted LottoLand to launch its Jackpot Betting alternative, which was approved by Australia’s local gambling licensing agencies.
Both the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and the ACMA immediately vowed to investigate Jackpot Betting, and the latter concluded that these products violate the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (IGBA) of 2016:
“The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation found that several Lottoland online jackpot betting services were games of chance which are prohibited.
These included the Mon and Wed Jackpot, Tue Jackpot, Thu Jackpot, US Millions, and US Power jackpot betting services.”
The IGAB was authorized to ban online casino games based on chance-dictated outcomes, a classification which wound up including poker as well as slots and table games. Online sports betting, however, remains legal under the IGAB.
LottoLand CEO Defends Jackpot Betting
In a statement provided to News.com.au, Lottoland Australia CEO Luke Brill explained the company’s decision to file suit against the ACMA in the New South Wales Supreme Court:
“We believe their view on jackpot betting is wrong.
We have worked hard to adapt to recent changes to the law, and we are committed to providing exciting new products that our customers love.
By taking this stand against ACMA, we are fighting for the rights of hundreds of thousands of Australians who enjoy the occasional flutter.
We are fighting for freedom of choice.”
Brill contended that LottoLand’s legal counsel advised the company that an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) would not be required to offer Jackpot Betting:
“As far as Lottoland is aware, none of the other sports betting operators who offer betting to Australians on financial markets hold an AFSL,” Mr Brill said.
Further, our new products are based on Australian and international stock market indices, which are a declared betting event under NT law.
Lottoland has included on its website a page that describes what jackpot betting is … we believe our customers know and understand that our new products are not bets on international lotteries.”