Tue, Sep 5, 8:46am by Head Editor
As reported by the Australian Financial Review on August 29, Crown Resorts’ online wagering platform CrownBet has launched a new lottery betting marketplace called CrownLotto.
The site, which went live last week, is positioned to compete with the Gibraltar-based LottoLand.
In January of 2016, LottoLand became the first company to be licensed for online lotto wagering in Australia, after the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) approved the site’s business model.
That business model – which allows players to wager on the outcome of lotto draws in lieu of purchasing actual tickets – has proven to be highly controversial over the interim. Domestic lotto operators have criticised LottoLand as an offshore entity which cannibalises ticket sales, all while foregoing the contributions to local causes that justify the existence of government-run lotto programs.
Even so, as the Australian Financial Review report made clear, CrownBet envisions its new service as an Australian-owned alternative to the foreign-owned LottoLand:
“CrownLotto will be pitched as an alternative to the Gibraltar-based gaming operator Lottoland, which is said to be making at least $1 million revenue a week and will be run in a similar manner, with customers betting on the outcome of a lottery rather than buying a ticket in the lottery itself.”
At the time, a spokesperson for CrownBet confirmed that CrownLotto’s imminent launch was based on widespread demand for such services:
“We’re launching these products to meet the clear and growing customer demand that is driven by huge jackpots in overseas draws.
Among the overseas draws currently offered on CrownLotto’s website are the Euro Millions, South African Power, the Canadian Lotto, and the popular Powerball and Mega Millions programs in the U.S.
According to the “How It Works” section of the site, CrownLotto operates in similar fashion to an online sportsbook, with players backing number sets in various draws. Rather than receive an actual ticket to that lotto, players are essentially wagering on the eventual outcome.
If a player’s number set winds up matching the actual draw results, CrownLotto dispenses a payout commensurate with that lotto’s prize pool structure.
And because CrownLotto is separated from the true lotto draw, players using the service are entitled to the entire payout – regardless if multiple winning tickets were sold.
Thus, a CrownLotto player can claim the entire Division One jackpot prize for themselves even if multiple winners step forward – provided they are the only CrownLotto player with the winning number set.
CrownLotto does cap its payouts at $150 million per contest, however, and players located in South Australia are not eligible.
The shift from terrestrial, ticket-based lottery sales to wagering on draw results was undoubtedly spearheaded by LottoLand, but CrownBet isn’t the only online bookmaker exploring the emerging market.
Dean Shannon, who founded Bookmaker.com.au before cashing out in 2013 by selling the site to Ladbrokes, recently announced his intention to form a lotto book of his own. Based in Brisbane, the new Neds.com platform is scheduled to debut in the first half of 2018.
In the meantime, Shannon plans to blanket Australian airwaves with adverts for Neds.com, beginning with an October blitz timed to coincide with horse racing festival season.
The U.K.-owned William Hill Australia has also moved into the lotto betting market, through a deal signed this June with LottoLand. Under that agreement, William Hill Australia added a lotto wagers tab to its existing sportsbook menu, with the William Hill Planet Lottery program offering access to worldwide draws.
On August 17, the Australian Financial Review reported that Tatts Group is also interested in online lotto wagering, as chief executive officer Robbie Cooke revealed that 14.5 percent of the company’s current lotto sales come through digital channels.
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