West Australians could soon enjoy the convenience of Internet betting on state lotteries if a proposal now nearing completion and due for submission to the provincial government soon is accepted.
Lotterywest CEO Jan Steward revealed to the West Australian newspaper this week that her staff were putting the finishing touches to a proposal for consideration by the state government within the next fortnight.
The plan would make all games except “scratch and win” tickets, including Super 66 and the Soccer Pools, accessible by clicking on a link on Lotterywest’s website. Punters would first have to set up a bank account, which would be subject to yet-to-be established checks verifying the age of gamblers. They would nominate limits on the amount they wished to bet, and gambling on credit would not be allowed.
Provided the scheme is contained as a lottery initiative it is not likely to attract too much opposition, the newspaper reports. However, interested parties have warned that it should not lead to casino interactive gambling and there must be safeguards to ensure that children could not access the service.
The objective of going online is not so much boosting Lotterywest's already significant revenues of around A$650 million, but more a case of adopting a defensive strategy against lottery offerings from other Aussie states that have already introduced online lotto wagering, Steward revealed.
She estimated that Lotterywest was losing about A$4 million a year in turnover from interstate online betting by West Australians so there was $1.3 million less a year to return to the community and charities under its revenue-sharing arrangements.
WA Council of Social Service chief executive Sue Ash said it would support the proposal if there was no interactive element to the gaming process, which would lead to gambling problems.
The requirement to set up a bank account might help gamblers keep better track of spending on games, she said.
West Australia Premier Colin Barnett, who has responsibility for the State’s lottery business, said he had still to see the proposal but it would require Cabinet approval.
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