Controversial lottery-betting service Lottoland described Australian legislation that will in effect banish it from the country as "unnecessary and misguided", while newsagents and lottery sellers have welcomed the decision.
The Australian government on Tuesday said it would introduce new legislation to Parliament to prohibit so-called "synthetic lotteries", in which gamblers can bet on foreign lottery outcomes rather than having to buy tickets in any draw.
The bill, to be introduced by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, will also ban betting on the outcomes of keno products.
Australian commercial TV broadcasters said the move to ban Lottoland, a prominent advertiser, would have a "significant impact" on their operations.
"We are disappointed at the total lack of consultation on this," a spokeswoman for Free TV Australia said.
Gibraltar-based Lottoland has been the target of efforts by Australian lotteries giant Tatts and industry groups representing thousands of the country's newsagencies. They claim Lottoland's "fake" lottery service has been cutting into their livelihoods and eroding tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue that would otherwise have paid for schools, hospitals and roads.
The campaign dubbed "Lottoland's Gotta Go" included newspaper and television advertisements, and large posters in newsagencies Australia-wide. It let to governments in several states flagging plans to restrict digital services that allowed betting on lottery outcomes.
In response to the opposition, Lottoland agreed to stop taking bets on Australian lotteries and now offers wagers on foreign lotteries only.
Lottoland's chief executive, Luke Brill, on Tuesday criticised the new legislation, saying it no longer offered "betting opportunities on any Australian lotteries... so our offering does not have a direct impact on newsagents".
"On the contrary, we want to work with newsagents to provide customers with greater choice and even better services, which have the potential to be highly beneficial for individual newsagents," Mr Brill said.
"While we understand the concerns expressed by some newsagents, the proposed legislation is both misguided and unnecessary."
Lottoland, which has about 650,000 registered customers in Australia, said it would work closely with regulators and all political parties to achieve a "satisfactory outcome".
Senator Fifield said the Turnbull government had formed the view that permitting betting on so-called synthetic lotteries undermined the "long-standing community acceptance of official lottery and keno products".
"These products enjoy community support as they generate an income stream for small retail businesses and make a significant contribution, through licence fees and taxation, to the provision of public services and infrastructure by state and territory governments," he said.
"Online service offering products that involve betting on lottery outcomes... have generated considerable community concern."
Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association chief Adam Joy said "dangerous sites" like Lottoland came at a significant cost to state taxes and family-run small businesses. He welcomed the introduction of the bill to ban lottery-betting.
"This will be welcome news for the consumers who have been misled by these online schemes, the communities that have been concerned about the impact on state tax revenues and the more than 4000 small businesses and their 15,000-plus employees that are regulated lottery retailers," Mr Joy said.
The legislation to ban lottery betting, if it succeeds, would take effect six months after it passes parliament.
Thanks to dannyct for the tip.