The CEO of Lottoland Australia, Luke Brill, has 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 Brill said that the previously unpublished documents, which had been obtained from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), confirmed that the parent company behind the Australian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.”