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Queensland Premier Shoots Down National Sports Lottery Proposal

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her administration rejected a federal government proposal for a British-styled national sports lottery to benefit Australian sport, explaining that it would further expand the gambling practices in sport.

During a meeting of sports ministers, which took place at the end of the last week, it was discussed the possibility to establish a government-owned lottery in an attempt to raise money and financially support the Australian sport and the top athletes.

The idea was triggered by the upcoming Olympic Games, in which Australia is supposed to participate. The Turnbull Government (the federal executive government of Australia) crafted the lottery plan aiming to financially support the development of the Australian sport.

Nevertheless, Ms. Palaszczuk expressed her disapproval, explaining that the lottery may unleash a hail of sports gamblers. Furthermore, she warned that the establishment of such lottery may have a very negative impact on the small-sized business, which gives jobs to nearly 20,000 people.

Ms. Palaszczuk pointed out that the sports lottery may damage the operations of the traditional lotteries, which currently generate a significant income to the state’s coffers. It was further added that the money reaped from the current lotteries are used to fund Victorian hospitals and charitable organization.

Federal Sports Minister Greg Hunt tried to soften Palaszczuk’s stance on the matter, explaining that the establishment of such sports lottery will not damage in any way the income of the already existing lotteries. He promised that prior to the distribution of money to the various sports clubs, the sports lottery will firstly compensate the government for any possible losses, which the officials fear.

Mr. Hunt also agreed to extend the period for the establishment of sports lotto in order to provide enough time for exploring different ways for the realization of the plan. The suggested lottery is said to be based on a system, similar to the one in the United Kingdom, but not limited only to it.

State Sports Minister Mick de Brenni commented that it is narrow-minded to stigmatize the gambling as an inappropriate source of funding. He further dwelt that the Australian sport is in an urgent need of financial help and the sports lottery looks like a good opportunity.

A spokesman for Mr. Hunt also expressed his perplexity by the fact that the Palaszczuk administration is supporting poker machines, but not a lottery that would benefit the development of the Australian sport. The supporters of the Turnbull’s lottery idea explained that Ms. Palaszczuk’s rejection does not mean that the lottery has no chance.

The sports lottery plan might be realized even without the state’s approval, as the Turnbull Government needs the state’s nod only for authorizing over-the-counter ticket sales. In case that the Palaszczuk administration continues to reject the sports lottery proposal, the federal government can establish a national online sports lottery, as it does not need the state’s agreement for that. Here it is worth to mention that the other states seem to welcome the idea, as long as their revenues are protected.