Government ends Tattersall’s lottery monopoly

The Victorian government has broken a 54-year monopoly on the state’s lottery market, awarding licences to both Tattersall’s and Intralot.

In opening up the market, the government hopes to reap more money – from more gambling.

Today’s announcement coincides with a report clearing the state government of any bias in its gaming tender process.

The report, by a review panel chaired by retired federal court judge Ron Merkel QC, said the two gaming giants had been treated equally and impartially.

But the report also raised serious concerns about the use of lobbyists, such as former state Labor gaming minister David White, who acted for Tattersall’s.

The report said lobbying, or „opening doors to government“, is the antithesis of a proper licence process.

The new arrangement will come into effect from July 1 next year, Victorian Premier John Brumby said today.

Tattersall’s will continue to operate lottery products such as Saturday Lotto, Oz Lotto, and Powerball, while Athens-based Intralot will take over the running of scratchies, or instant lotteries.

Mr Brumby said breaking the monopoly represented the best value for Victorians.

„The estimated revenue of more than AUD 3 billion over 10 years from these lottery licences will go directly into Victoria’s health services,“ he said.

„This competition will ensure a better return to Victoria over the next 10 years than if an exclusive licence had been awarded to one company.“

Gaming Minister Tony Robinson said the revenue to the government would have been hundreds of millions of dollars less without the entry of Intralot.

It is unclear whether the government will allow Intralot to use the internet and mobile phones to sell its products.

Tattersall’s today welcomed the announcement.

The share that Tattersall’s has been given currently makes up 85 per cent of lottery sales, the company said in a statement.

Comment was being sought from Intralot.

The report by the Gambling and Lotteries Licence Review Panel was tabled in the Victorian parliament today.

Tattersall’s shares were up 3 cents to AUD 4.13 at 2pm today.