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Lottoland campaign against newsagents and their national association, ALNA, turns nasty

Mark Fletcher
May 1st, 2018 · 14 Comments

In my opinion, the campaign run by Lottoland has taken a nasty turn with this press release issued today:

LOTTOLAND AUSTRALIA CALLS ON FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO REVIEW PROPOSED BAN IN LIGHT OF PEAK BODY REVELATIONS

May 1, 2018

The CEO of Lottoland Australia, Luke Brill, today called on the Federal Government to review its proposed legislation banning online lottery betting in light of revelations that the body supposedly representing newsagents is financially broke – and has misled the public about its membership numbers.

Mr. Brill said that the previously unpublished documents, which had been obtained from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), confirmed that the parent company behind the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA) was facing financial ruin.

“These ASIC documents raise serious questions about the financial situation at ALNA and its ability to continue to operate as a going concern, let alone to represent the interest of its members,” Mr. Brill said.

“According to ALNA’s own auditors, the organisation is in financial disarray, with the auditors telling ASIC that there is ‘significant uncertainty’ as to whether the group will continue as a going concern.”

Mr. Brill also said that ASIC records confirmed that the Federal Government had been misled into believing that ALNA represented the views of 4,000 newsagents nationally, when it fact its membership numbers are substantially lower.

“We’re shocked and disappointed to find out that a body that the Government believes has over 4,000 newsagents nationally as members has in fact only 707 paid members – about 80 per cent less than claimed,” he said.

“This raises major questions about the true intent of ALNA and whether it has misled not just the Government and others MPs, but whether it has also misled the public.”

Mr. Brill accused ALNA of acting against the interests of newsagents by advocating for laws that would hand Tatts (now Tabcorp) an unprecedented monopoly, and appealed to the Government to reconsider the proposed legislation before it was too late.

“Rather than address the shocking state of its financial affairs, ALNA has inexplicably taken part in a $5 million lobbying campaign to convince the Government to ban online lottery betting, which will leave newsagents at the mercy of a Tabcorp monopoly,” he said.

“Given these revelations, we are asking the Government to put a stop to the planned legislation and start listening to newsagents on the ground.”

ALNA has responded with this release:

Response from the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA) 

1 May 2018

Adding another string to their ruthless bow of propaganda and deception, Lottoland have twisted facts and figures about Australia’s national industry body for newsagents.

The Australian Newsagent’s Federation (ANF) Board of Directors who trade as The Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA) has instructed their lawyer to investigate all legal avenues against the false allegations contained in Lottoland’s press release dated 1st of May.

Adam Joy, CEO of the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA) said, “The Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association is solvent and represents approximately 2,000-member small businesses. Any rumours to the contrary are unequivocally false and salacious. We have always been transparent and have nothing to hide. Our accounts are independently audited every year and are all available through ASIC, and clearly identify the solvency of our organisation.

“There has not been any misrepresentation of figures of any kind by ALNA – only by Lottoland who have been aggressively spreading defamatory rumours based on inaccurate and incomplete information.”

Lottoland has continuously worked to mislead consumers, governments and the general public, and are now seeking to maliciously defame the very same organisation they sought to conduct business with on three separate occasions.

“We find it ironic that Lottoland are attacking an honest Australian not-for-profit small business association when Lottoland’s very existence and history are based on stunts, loopholes and deception. Today’s defamatory comments further demonstrate that it is not the kind of business Australia deserves.

“From facing legal action for illegally and deliberately misusing trademarks of other businesses, being misleading regarding the winnings available, denigrating newsagents and then wanting to move their customers to Lottoland, and now making false allegations about the industry body that represents approximately 2,000 of these Australian small businesses, Lottoland continue to operate in a highly unethical manner,” explained Adam Joy, CEO of the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA).

Lottoland are based in the tax haven of Gibraltar, and have been granted a licence that allows them to run its Australian online business out of the Northern Territory while only taxing its gross profits earned on punting on horses, trotting and greyhound racing — three categories Lottoland doesn’t even operate in.

And they do all this while operating outside of the much tighter regulations, consumer protections, and higher taxes that official regulated lotteries adhere to.

Here are the facts:

“ALNA are the only national association representing newsagents and lottery agents in every state and territory of Australia, and are the only newsagents’ association with ACCC national collective bargaining authorisation.

“The Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association has a strong relationship with government for this very reason, and is known as a credible, effective organisation – because we are,” stated Mr Joy.

ALNA has clearly articulated to the government that we represent approximately 2,000 small businesses. ALNAs documents submitted to the government in relation to the concerning issue of lotto betting point to there being over 4,000 small businesses operating as lottery retailers whose customers have been impacted and mislead. As the only authorised national body it is not uncommon for us to refer to industry statistics.

Mr Joy explained, “ALNA only ever represents the position of its members and its board, which are newsagents and lottery agents across Australia. And in the interests of Australia’s newsagents and lottery agents, we independently and fairly advocate for them based on their feedback and requests. Our concerns regarding Lottoland have always been based on our members’ feedback, and independent of any other business.”

Auditors have determined that ALNA fairly present its affairs in all material aspects and have a clean report that is transparent and thorough and has disclosed all information required.

The last line of the extract that has been included in Lottoland’s misleading media release, states that ‘the auditors opinion has not been modified in respect of this matter’. For those who may not understand accounting terms, the Auditors are actually stating that the ANF (trading as ALNA) is solvent and is trading within the confines of the law. Any suggestion to the contrary by deliberately misrepresenting ANF financial information is unethical and defamatory. The correct information is publicly available through ASIC.

The false comments made about ALNA are in reaction to a soon-to-be-passed amendment to the Interactive Gambling Act, meaning the banning of betting on lottery outcomes. The Federal Interactive Gambling Act already makes it illegal to sell a scratchy online and play a poker machine online, and Lottoland’s business offering is another questionable model that is deemed inappropriate online. In other words, the main reason for the impending ban is consumer protection.

As Lottoland now faces the closure of the loophole that it operates in, it has pulled out stunt after stunt in desperate attempts to hoodwink the public.

Lottoland are an online wagering company and if they want to enter the lottery market, then they should consider a lottery license and completely change their product to one that is honest and operates within those much tighter regulations to offer consumer protections. Their business  is operating out of a legislative loophole and their approach is tricky and dodgy, and ultimately one that consumers should be concerned about.

The Lottoland release and the media coverage they get, especially on News Corp. platforms, speaks to the tough work faced by ALNA representing newsagents. Getting Tatts engaged and then politicians was there work of ALNA, on the back of relentless attacks on and mocking of small business newsagents by Lottoland.

13 likes

Category: Ethics · Lotteries · Social responsibility

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dean Young // May 1, 2018 at 5:52 PM

    Thanks NANA for allowing them to find voice again. They are not helping themselves in this approach. Seems to back to a default position of attack and denigrate.

    1 likes

  • 2 er // May 1, 2018 at 5:55 PM

    on this NANA is a C^&T

    3 likes

  • 3 Paul S // May 1, 2018 at 6:43 PM

    Well someones lieing or pushing boundaries.
    707 vs “nearly 2000” aren’t minor differences so which is it?
    Is the “padding ” of the nearly 2000 those businesses not identified as newsagents or what figures have Lottoland pulled from ASIC ???

    0 likes

  • 4 Graeme Day // May 1, 2018 at 7:50 PM

    The Lotto Land sort of below the belt tactic is uncalled for and shows that desperate is what desperate does.
    I repeat what I said earlier, if creditors come to an agreement of payment and it is met then there is no case for foreclosure for there is no case to answer it becomes an agreement that is comfortable with the knowledge that lack of performance will revert back to the original position. Looking at the results they are climbing out of the swamp through good management.

    ALNA obviously is fine and meeting everything arrangement they took on.
    The real argument is whether lottoLand is for newsagents or for itself.
    It is really whether Lottoland’s offer is as synthetic as their product.
    The Govt. issue is a separate one altogether. It’s not about newsagents or Lotteries it’s about Taxation compliance.

    The other separate issue altogther is Tatt’s treatment of their Francisees and their cannibalisation of those franchisees in online competition resulting in Bricks and Mortar sales decline or ist it the greed expressed here of making the game because of monopoly situation, not so attractive?
    Don’t get confused each one of these situations need attention on a one to one basis.
    Newsagents have bigger issues than Lottoland and Tatts. Distribution of newspapers is another story.

    1 likes

  • 5 Colin // May 1, 2018 at 7:57 PM

    I have been a Proud newsagent for over 25 years unfortunately this disagreement with the Federal body and the State body is nothing new. While we have this division suppliers to the industry will have us on toast over the years we had many differences between the bodies representing our industry the myriad of marketing groups instead of being united we are fragmented by these people s egos. Some time ago we had the green and gold N logo to identify Newsagents that has fallen on the wayside. As far as Lottoland is concerned I do not trust them when thy came out they went out of their way to make us as a group look stupid. Last year Luke Brill was printed in the paper saying us Newsagents are just about finished. Now that their neck is on the block he needs us as allies to save their neck the very people they ridiculed not long ago.With Tatts at least we know where we stand I don’t think they are that stupid that they would try to eliminate us we need each other.Unless everyone realizes that we have been fragmented and all parties of the industry get behind each other we will be fragmented and vulnerable .So remember united we stand divided we fall!

    5 likes

  • 6 Graeme Day // May 1, 2018 at 8:00 PM

    Dean,
    Nana by definition has the duty to explore impartially every possibility of opportunity to help their members.
    The competition between ALNA and NANA is good as long as the members benefit.
    I don’t look at the denigration angle so much as the alternative proposal of competition versus monopoly.
    Anyway it’s out of our hands LottoLand has to satisfy the Govt. first before we are a consideration I really object to the situation that we are being used as a pawn by both parties when there is no consultation with either body per’se

    1 likes

  • 7 Graeme Day // May 1, 2018 at 8:03 PM

    Dean, I should add that personally I think Lottoland are not only but proving to be grubs.

    0 likes

  • 8 Mark Fletcher // May 1, 2018 at 9:08 PM

    I spoke with Adam Joy, CEO of ALNA, about this today and commented that it is frustrating at time having to be spent on this battle when there are far more important issues for ALNA and newsagents to work together on – complex issues, some I bet that are yet to fully reveal themselves. That said, ALNA is not ignoring this fight with Lottoland. They would benefit and all newsagents with lotteries would benefit with united focus on this issue. There is the parliamentary vote to achieve. This is needed urgently. After that, who knows, there may be a legal challenge. All through, newsagents need to focus, as I noted, united.

    3 likes

  • 9 Colin, Malvern SA // May 2, 2018 at 8:06 AM

    It’s not about newsagents. It’s about big businesses getting biggest share of the country with world’s highest per capita gambling losses. Per adult head Australians lose double the next biggest and the gap to the second highest is increasing exponentially.

    Lottoland may do us all a favour and bring about a Royal Commission. As with banking, the headlines will be awash with dubious practices, over selling and the complete debunking of allowing the industry to ‘gamble responsibility’.

    Bring it on Mr. Bill.

    1 likes

  • 10 Mark R // May 2, 2018 at 2:40 PM

    Graeme I disagree with your views on NANA , are NANA doing this for their members or have they come to a financial agreement with Lottoland which will benefit NANA.

    This is important as what NANA management may see is a good deal for NANA is not always a good deal for newsagents ,we have seen this many times before in the industry and its ended in disaster.

    There should be no competition between NANA and the ALNA both organisations should be on the same page and working together.
    NANA’s involvement only helps Lottoland’s cause this is poor form on NANA’s behalf

    2 likes

  • 11 Graeme Day // May 2, 2018 at 3:07 PM

    I don’t have a problem with what you say. I don’t know of any deal with Lottland or any deal with Tatts from ALNA in advertising etc.
    i am not commenting on that just that Nana looking at alternatives (even though I don’t agree with Lottoland at all) for newsagents is not a bad thing. The different focus by the two Associations could give benefit to newsagents wheras a single focus doesn’t give a choice.
    Truuthfully I believe the whole lotto thing is been blown out of proportion with newsagent in a position of no say anyway.

    There are much bigger issues out there that will affect this industry than Gaming. Distribution and its repercussions for one. Actual cost cutting at Fairfax two and the mere fact that News are looking at the pssibility of divesting some if not all of their Regional newspapers another.
    These are real issues with ramifications that will affect all newsagents should they come to being.

    0 likes

  • 12 Mark R // May 2, 2018 at 4:49 PM

    Graeme I agree there are other issues the industry face. With regards to newspapers there is no upside to this part of our business, newspaper sales have been in decline for the last 5 years , there are far more efficient platforms to deliver the daily news.
    Newsagents should have or should be transitioning into other products to offset the changes in consumer demand.
    But with Lottoland and NANA Vs the ALNA the problem is important, as those outside the industry are getting mixed signals and it makes our industry appeared fractured .

    In my view those responsible are unprofessional , NANA knew of the ALNA’s position before they jumped into bed with Lottoland.

    Despite NANA’s claim that newsagents will benefit from their proposal , I believe their alternate position is damaging .

    NANA have no relevance when the issue in question extends beyond the borders of NSW

    1 likes

  • 13 James // May 2, 2018 at 4:54 PM

    Id have to say Im reasonably comfortable with where this is all at, mainly on the basis of follow the MONEY. State Governments are addicted to gambling tax, a sizeable portion of which comes from lotteries which is owned and controlled in each state by the state government. The fact they have all chosen to run the block games around the country is simply a convenience.

    The fact that state governments, a lot of which up until very recently managed the operation of those lotteries themselves, have elected to outsource operational management to Tatts is by the by. Tatts has a contract just like any other service provider. In Victoria they foolishly tried to introduce competition into that service by awarding Instants and”Keno” to Intralot for a period of 5 years. An absolute disaster for all concerned – Agents, Intralot, and the state government who lost hundreds of millions of dollars in lost gambling tax. Since rectified and all back in the one service provider system, hopefully lesson learnt.

    Lottoland actually represents a bigger threat to state government gambling tax than anything else and so I expect that they will as big an opponent as any of the other interested parties and ironically perhaps agents best ally.

    As Ive said before, Tatts Omni channel debacle in waiting is another issue altogether

    0 likes

  • 14 Graeme Day // May 2, 2018 at 8:09 PM

    Mark R Newspaers have ben in decline since 1967

    0 likes

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