PROTECTING local consumers and small businesses across the Riverina and Central West was the focus of the Government’s planned ban on synthetic lotteries, Deputy Prime Minister and Member for Riverina Michael McCormack says.

“The Government is determined to help protect consumers and to support local small businesses, including our local newsagents,” Mr McCormack said.

“Recently, a number of synthetic lotteries have emerged offering large prizes for individuals who make a purchase. What most people do not realise though is they are not buying tickets in the actual lottery but rather betting on the outcome of the lottery.

Mr McCormack said the Government has formed the view permitting betting on services known as synthetic lotteries has been undermining the long-standing community acceptance of official lottery and keno products.

“I have met with many concerned residents and small businesses across the electorate, and around the nation as the former Minister responsible for Consumer Affairs,” Mr McCormack said.

“The Liberals and Nationals’ Government is taking strong action to address these concerns to protect consumers but also to help small businesses, such as newsagents, who have lost customers to these large international betting agencies.

“Locals have spoken, the Government has listened and we are acting.

“The Government introduced the Interactive Gambling Amendment (Lottery Betting) Bill 2018 into the House of Representatives. The Bill will legislate a nationwide ban against all online lottery and Keno betting services ensuring a nationally consistent approach to this issue.

“This action is in recognition of the importance of traditional official lottery and Keno services to hundreds of small businesses across the Riverina and Central West and indeed thousands of consumers who deserve to know exactly what it is they are purchasing.”

The legislation will begin operation six months after the passage through the Parliament to ensure those businesses currently offering online betting on lotteries and Keno have an appropriate transition period to cease their activity.

Shane Manning