Lottoland To Legally Challenge UK Government’s EuroMillions Ban

The Lotto Betting Group has threatened the government with legal action over its ban on third-party operators such as Lottoland offering betting markets on the outcomes of EuroMillions Lottery draws.

The department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced the ban, issued through a statutory licence condition, in November last year. The ban is due to come into force on 6th April, but The Lotto Betting Group yesterday urged UK Secretary of State for the DCMS to suspend the forthcoming ban, claiming it is contrary to EU law.

The group of complainants is made up of four companies; Lottoland, WorldLottery Club, Jackpot.com and Multilotto. A joint letter written to the DCMS from the group asserted that the new condition, which would prevent non-UK EuroMillions bets to be taken, conflicted with Article 56 on the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The Lotto Betting Group believes that the decision to prohibit betting on non-UK EuroMillions draws was unjustified and was based on inconclusive evidence. The Lotto Betting Group, writing to the department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The group of companies, which would see a huge negative impact on their businesses if the ban was to go through, claim that a recent publication by the National Audit Office confirms the drop in National Lottery income for good causes in 2016-17 was due to a move away from National Lottery draw-based games to instant games and not as a result of third-party lottery betting.

“Instant games have a lower return to good causes, which led to the decline, and the letter before asks the DCMS to suspend the Parliamentary approval process,” said the letter.

Lottoland has been dubbed the “Uber of lottery” by some who claim the company has had the same disruptive impact as the popular taxi-app. Lottoland uses a system called insurance-linked securities to protect itself against lottery winners by up to €100 million ($123 million) per year. These policies are usually reserved for governments to protect against natural disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes. By using this method, Lottoland can sell “tickets” for slightly cheaper than real lottery tickets, yet still pay out the same prize money to winners.

Gibraltar-based Lottoland was fined £150,000 in June 2017 for failing to make it clear to customers that the site was taking bets on the outcomes of lottery draws, rather than selling tickets to enter the draws themselves.

A spokesperson for Camelot, the organisation that runs the National Lottery in the UK, told The Times that secondary lotteries have “created confusion and diverted money from the good causes that the National Lottery was set up to support.”

Christopher Rees-Gay, a gambling law expert and attorney with Pinsent Masons, said that The Lotto Betting Group might have a case. “It is a dangerous precedent to have mandatory conditions added to operating licences issued under the Gambling Act 2005, where there is no real evidence to support the changes,” he said. “As long as the consumer is fully informed, then it should be a decision of the consumer to decide whether or not they play a lottery or to bet on it.”

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