Australia: Crown Resorts and CrownBet will launch an online lottery as soon as later this week, seeking to cut into the market share of the foreign-owned Lottoland

Crown Resorts and CrownBet will launch an online lottery as soon as later this week, seeking to cut into the market share of the foreign-owned Lottoland and possibly eventually compete with Tatts Group's existing digital lottery ticket sales.

The lottery, to be called CrownLotto, will be run by corporate bookmaker CrownBet, which is 62 per cent owned by James Packer's Crown Resorts.

CrownLotto will be pitched as an alternative to the Gibraltar-based gaming operator Lottoland, which is said to be making at least $1 million revenue a week and will be run in a similar manner, with customers betting on the outcome of a lottery rather than buying a ticket in the lottery itself.

If a punter wins a jackpot or divisional prize, CrownLotto would pay out the equivalent of the prizemoney as if the customer had a winning ticket for the actual draw. CrownBet will claim it pays out more than Lottoland, which entered the Australian market in a blaze of publicity in 2015, due a lower commission rate.

Tatts took legal action against Lottoland, which has signed a deal to for naming rights to the stadium of NRL club Manly, questioning its legal and intellectual property rights.

CrownLotto is also a response to rival William Hill which in July joined forces with Lottoland to launch William Hill Planet Lottery, via which William Hill punters can bet on global lotteries.

"We're launching these products to meet the clear and growing customer demand that is driven by huge jackpots in overseas draws," A CrownBet spokesman said.

CrownBet plans to pay a slice of its earnings from the lottery to community causes, and aims to convert younger punters to also bet on the outcome of global and Australian lottery draws rather than target existing retail lottery ticket buyers.

But Tatts Group chief executive Robbie Cooke recently revealed about 14 per cent of its lottery ticket sales were now made via digital channels, and while those are for actual lottery draws there is a chance Lottoland and now CrownBet could be taking market share from Tatts.

Yet the CrownBet spokesman said: "Lottery wagering attracts a different demographic and will grow overall interest in lotteries, rather than competing with traditional physical lotteries."

Tabcorp and Tatts are set to merge in an $11 billion deal, subject to Federal Court hearings this week regarding objections to the transaction lodged by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and CrownBet.

Meanwhile, doubts are mounting as to whether mooted plans for a national sports lottery run by the federal government will come to fruition. 

Sports Minister Greg Hunt had revealed in May that the government had a "strong bias" to set up a sports lottery, which he suggested could raise up to $50 million a year.

"It's something that in my time and on my watch I would like to see us achieve," he said. "If it is legislated and highly regulated, and it's a public-good lottery then that's sensible."

But several state sports ministers have cast doubt about the merits of the lottery and it is understood there are now serious legal doubts about whether a national online lottery is allowable under the constitution

http://www.afr.com/business/gambling/crown-to-launch-online-lottery-20170828-gy5kit