It has been revealed that, very shortly, the Northern Territory’s Racing and Betting Act (1983) could be amended.
So, what are the planned and imminent changes? The answer is simple: presently, they not being made public! Only a select group of people knew for definite. Although this might seem ridiculous, it is sadly, very true.
So, what do we know?
So far, very little other than planned and imminent alterations to the Northern Territory’s Racing and Betting Act are afoot. These proposed changes have been lodged in an Originating Motion filed in the Supreme Court, Australia. It is believed that the changes relate to licencing conditions of Australia’s gambling operators. The changes will apply to all gambling operators, whose business licence is registered in the Northern Territory. Due to Australia’s stringent anti-gambling laws, most operators are registered in the Northern Territory.
Although the changes are not being specified, it is thought that only one operator will be affected, and the unlucky operator is Lottoland. Understandably, Lottoland is appalled at the perceived discrimination and have sought immediate court action to ensure fairness.
Why Target Lottoland?
Lottoland is registered in Gibraltar, but operates in several countries including Australia and the UK. However, each country has its own set of gambling laws, which means that Lottoland’s business model varies between countries.
Their main business model is to offer participants a chance to “play” in an overseas lottery via Lottoland’s website. This has become known in the industry, as “playing a synthetic lottery”. This is because the gambler is not actually buying a ticket for the real overseas’ lottery. Instead, they are participating in a game linked to the overseas’ lottery draw.
If this confuses you, then do not worry; you are not alone. Despite Lottoland saying that their terms and conditions are clear, there have been recent high-profile cases of Australian punters taking Lottoland to court, to claim their “unpaid lottery winnings”.
Last month, an Australian man lost his “claim” to a $238 million USA Powerball jackpot. Earlier this year, an Australian woman suffered disappointment after a similar ruling went against her.
Such is the anger against “synthetic lottery” websites that in 2018, the state of Western Australia (WA) imposed fines for using such a site. At the time, WA were threatening a $2,500(AUD) fine against people caught using a “synthetic lottery” website. In January 2019, the Australia’s federal government imposed a nationwide ban of using such a site. This was imposed via a change to the Interactive Gambling Act (2001).
Soon after the Act changed, the Northern Territory Racing Commission – the ACMA – deemed Lottoland had broken the terms of its operational license. This seemed the end of Lottoland, however, Lottoland took the ACMA to court. After filling documents at the Supreme Court of New South Wales, their case was heard in July 2019. Lottoland won. Thereby enabling it to continue operating in Australia.
Now it appears that the regulator has Lottoland in its sights once again. Hence, the proposed – yet non-publicised – changes to the Northern Territory’s Racing and Betting Act.
These changes were destined to come into effect at the end of October 2020. However, Lottoland are seeking an injunction to prevent this from happening. The Supreme Court will rule on the injunction this week, before it goes to a hearing in November.
Whether the hearing will lead to other operators becoming affected by the proposed changes is unknown. After all, no-one outside of the court hearing, actually knows what the planned changes to the Northern Territory’s Racing and Betting Act are!