“Welcome to the land of happiness” is the slogan of LottoLand and executive of the lottery company were left beaming from ear-to-ear after winning a landmark case against the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
LottoLand took action after the ACMA ruled its jackpot betting products violated the Australia Interactive Gambling Act of 2001. The case made it to the Supreme Court of New South Wales with the court ruling in favor of Lottoland.
The problematic jackpot product in question has its winning numbers created from the financial markets. LottoLand takes these figures and arranges them into a winning number for a lottery draw. ACMA claimed the product breached the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 by providing prohibited interactive gambling services. An investigation by the ACMA revealed several LottoLand jackpot services were games of chance, which are prohibited under the Act.
Senior executives at LottoLand disagreed with the ACMA ruling and vowed to clear the company’s name by starting legal proceedings. Lottoland claimed its jackpot betting service was not betting on the outcome of a game so should not be considered illegal under the Act. Two months later, LottoLand’s case was heard in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, and it could not have gone any better for them.
Justice John Sackar presided over the case and ultimately ruled favor of LottoLand. Sackar agreed the customer’s stake constituted a bet, but he did not believe the draw itself was a game.
Sacker explained his decision by saying, “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.
“There is little to no rational basis, it seems, upon which the customer numbers are selected. Indeed customers may choose to relinquish all control and have their numbers automatically chosen for them. The process is devoid of the notion of an expression of opinion. There is no obvious judgment or skill being employed and it is difficult to say the selection could be based on some belief.”
“A game must be more than the simple process by which a person parts with his/her money with a chance of a financial return,” the judge continued. “There must be a level of interaction in the sense that a participant’s actions to some extent affect the outcome of the activity. Here there is no participation in the sense that the ongoing actions of the participant can influence the outcome.”
Luke Brill, Chief Operating Officer of LottoLand, was obviously delighted with the outcome. Brill said in a statement, “The Supreme Court of NSW has today confirmed that Lottoland Australia’s Jackpot Betting products are fully compliant with Australian law. Lottoland Australia has always maintained that ACMA’s view of our Jackpot Betting products is wrong, unfair, and uncompetitive and I am pleased to say that we have been vindicated. With this matter now settled, Lottoland Australia can finally get on with what it does best – providing new and exciting products that Australian punters love.”
Lottoland almost found itself in court in March 2019 after Peter Goddard of Perth claimed he was duped out of a life-changing win relating to the U.S. MegaMillions lotto draw. Two lucky winners shared the $US54.5 million (AU$71.2 million) jackpot, but Goddard says there should have been a third winner.
Goddard believed he and his partner should have been entitled to either $8.4 million or $25.5 million. They, however, discovered their bet had been put onto the following week’s lottery despite being placed at 11:27 a.m. with the draw taking place at noon. LottoLand argued Goddard had attempted to select the winning numbers after the draw had been made in the United States.
The case was passed to the Northern Territory Racing Commission by LottoLand. The commission was satisfied LottoLand had acted with due care and attention and that Goddard had no case against the company.