WA Government Rules Out Any Plans to Privatize the Lottery Sector

March 21, 2023 | Government

PERTH, Western Australia (March 19, 2023) — The WA Government will fork out $39 million to help save the State’s 500 newsagencies who fear they’re nearly out of lottery luck with customers turning to online gambling.

The ‘West Australian‘ reported Premier Mark McGowan said in Byford on Sunday, that it was important the sector was topped up for the survival of small business owners and for the community benefit Lotto delivers.

There were more than $320 million dollars distributed to hundreds of charities and not-for-profits through the scheme last year.

Byford newsagency owner Gabrielle Lyon said she has had to be adaptable in the past 12 years of business to stay afloat.

Seven out of 10 people buy their lottery tickets in bricks and mortar outlets, the rest are online.

Lotterywest definitely gets the people in which gives you the foot traffic. From there it’s up to us to try to sell something else that we provide,” Ms Lyon said.

A lot of newsagents are probably becoming more reliant on the lotto itself.

Lots of things are impacting on the business and the margins are getting smaller and smaller.

Mr McGowan said newsagencies had been part of the fabric of the community but were coming under pressure with a rise in online news and entertainment impacting newspaper and magazine sales.

Lotterywest chief executive Ralph Addis is reported by the ‘West Australian‘ to have said newsagency shop fronts were as important to Lottery West as Lotterywest is to newsagents.

There’s no doubt that a pretty aggressive presence in the market from other forms of online gambling, in particular, is something we are concerned about and we need to be on the front foot,” he said.

“The way that retailers engage with our community and ultimately our customers, it’s fundamental to what Lotterywest is all about. They are the front line ambassador for both our products and our brand.”

Lotterywest is the only government-owned lottery in the country with the Premier ruling out any plans to privatise the sector.

The Premier said the agents are the backbone of Lotterywest and the government would provide $4.5 million every year in direct payments to increase their sustainability.

Newsagents like everything else, need to change with the times but making sure we properly support newsagents and Lotterywest retailers is what this is about,” the Labor leader said.

I want them to continue to prosper, continue to be successful.

SOURCE: The West Australian.

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