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Aussie newsagent group reveals potential deal with Lottoland

| By Joanne Christie
The Newsagents Association of NSW and ACT (NANA) is considering a profit-sharing agreement with Lottoland, putting it at odds with the country’s other main newsagent association

The Newsagents Association of NSW and ACT (NANA) said today that it is considering entering into a profit-sharing agreement with Lottoland in a move that puts it at odds with the country’s other main newsagent association.

Lottoland’s Australian business put forward an offer to newsagents earlier this month that would see them receive 20% of the profits of overseas bets when they refer customers to its site.

The offer came shortly after the federal government announced that it was introducing legislation to ban betting on international lotteries, which if passed would shut down Lottoland’s Australian business.

Lottoland’s profit-sharing offer was immediately rejected by the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA), the main representative body of the country’s newsagents, which described it as “nothing more than a desperate PR manoeuvre”.

However, in a newsletter to member agents today, NANA CEO Ian Booth said: “NANA is considering that offer. It is substantially higher than previous offers made to ALNA and to newsagents in the media. The offer is based on a percentage of sales value, not profit. The percentage rate is higher than the percentages newsagents and other lotteries outlets receive in commissions from Tatts Group Lotteries for their lotteries products.”

In a radio interview shortly after the ban was announced, Booth expressed concerns about Tatts’ motivation in driving Lottoland out of Australia, and pointed out that Tatts’ growing digital business was taking market share from newsagents.

In today’s newsletter he stated: “From day one of the campaign funded and conducted by Tatts Group Lotteries against alternate lotteries/wagering products, NANA has stressed that there will be enormous consequences for newsagents if Tatts Group Lotteries has no effective competition.

“Already, Tatts Group Lotteries has an almost monopoly position in every state and territory except Western Australia. If this position is reinforced by a legislated ban on alternate/wagering products, there will be nothing to prevent Tatts Group Lotteries building on their thrust into online sales.  Already their online sales represent a significant proportion of the overall sales of lotteries products.”

Although Booth said NANA had not finalised an agreement with Lottoland, he said it was “duty bound to consider any alternative that gives newsagents a fair share”.

He also said: “NANA has written to the deputy prime minister and Senator [Mitch] Fifield about the proposed amendments to the Interactive Gambling legislation. If the identified issues concerning taxation, state government revenue, consumer education and income for newsagents and other lotteries outlets are resolved, why shouldn’t newsagents get an additional income stream, which balances what they are losing to alternate wagering products and to Tatts Group Lotteries’ own online sales activities.”

Although technically NANA is the representative body for newsagents only in the states of NSW and the ACT, Booth said it had been approached by agents outside these states to represent them on this issue. “NANA has been approached to represent the interests of significant blocks of newsagents outside of NSW and ACT.  Why?  Because newsagents are sick and tired of being used as cannon fodder by the likes of Tatts Group Lotteries and associations that act as their mouthpiece. NANA is working with those newsagents to work out what will be best for them.”

He added: “Throughout the campaign orchestrated and funded by Tatts Group Lotteries, a campaign on which they have spent more than $5m, they portrayed the resistance they have created as being initiated and managed on a grass roots level by newsagents and other lotteries outlets. Make no mistake, the campaign was and is funded and orchestrated by Tatts Group Lotteries. Some newsagent and lotteries associations have tied themselves to the campaign and appear to act as mouthpieces for Tatts Group Lotteries.”

Booth said NANA would continue to work with Lottoland to negotiate a deal, and that newsagents should expect to receive a letter directly from Lottoland tomorrow.

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