In my opinion, there is no value for small business newsagents in supporting or working with Lottoland. here is why:
- Lottoland launched in Australia mocking newsagents. Their attack on newsagency businesses and those who run them was relentless and hurtful. It cost newsagents respect and revenue.
- Lottoland now wants to partner with newsagents because federal parliament appears set to ban betting on lotteries. Boo hoo to them.
- Lottoland is an online-first business. Everywhere it operates it is about online sales. Any partnership with high street retail would be contrary to their core operation. I suspect if they did partner with retailers, online would always be their core focus.
- Lottoland is coming at this the wrong way around. If a high street pitch was important to them they should have put it in place when they launched into Australia.
- Lottoland says it wants to pay taxes and be a contributor to the Australian economy. If this was the case they would have established this from the outset and not pitched it now, moments away from their core offer being outlawed.
- Lottoland has been dishonest in its representations. Last year, they claimed to be talking to newsagents. No genuine approach had been made. From where I sit it looked like smoke and mirrors.
- Lottery products are highly regulated around the world. There are many reasons for this, most are good reasons. While I do not like the monopoly approach in Australia, the regulation is important and necessary.
The issue here is not about newsagents and their businesses. Nor is it about regulation or protection. Newsagency businesses need to live or die as a result of the actions of the owners in running a compelling and appreciated local businesses for the communities in which they serve. This and local community desire will determine if newsagency businesses survive.
The issue here is about Lottoland, their operation and their ethics.
They launched into Australia running a campaign over which they had 100% control. That told us about the company and what it stands for.
Their TV commercials were, in my opinion, dishonest and disrespectful. They are reaping what they sowed.
Footnote: the newsagency today cannot be the newsagency Australians remember from the past. Today’s newsagency is a shop leaning into change, offering different products thoughtfully selected and carefully curated for local community needs. Whereas in the past people walked in the door of a newsagency for papers, magazines and lotteries first. Today, many newsagencies have people walking in for more high-end sought after lines with papers, magazines and lotteries becoming the impulse add-on.