A man has lost a $238 million gambling dispute against Lottoland — the second time in recent months the international betting giant has come up trumps after being accused of deceptive conduct involving jackpot competitions mistaken as Powerball draws.
Earlier this year a woman, known only as Ms B, lodged a gambling dispute in the Northern Territory where Lottoland holds its Australian licence, claiming she had won $126 million after selecting the correct numbers in what she assumed was a Powerball lottery.
She had actually entered Lottoland’s “THU Jackpot” which has nothing to do with Powerball, apart from taking place on the same day of the week.
It has since emerged a second person lodged a similar complaint with the NT Racing Commission this year.
The man, referred to as Mr O, claimed he had won $238 million after choosing the right numbers in the US Powerball Lottery.
However, he had actually entered Lottoland’s “US Power” competition, which is unrelated.
Both complainants accused Lottoland of advertising its jackpot competitions with logos that resembled Powerball lotteries.
Lottoland rejected the allegations, telling the commission the logos were not similar and that it had not used the word “Powerball” in its products since 2016.
The company also disputed claims by Mr O of “misleading and deceptive conduct”, saying it had not offered bets on international lotteries since federal rules prevented it from doing so in 2019.
Instead, Lottoland said it advised all customers they were entering jackpot competitions that involve betting on the outcome of international financial markets.
The company also told the commission Mr O had submitted his entry shortly after the real Powerball draw had been conducted.
“A reasonable person could be led to believe [Mr O] knew the winning numbers of the [US Powerball] before placing his bet on the US Power,” it told the commission.
Ms B had also entered her ticket shortly after the real Powerball results were known.
The commission rejected both matters, finding Lottoland had no case to answer.
“The commission is satisfied that no monies are payable to the complainant by Lottoland in respect of that lawful bet,” it said in its latest judgement involving Mr O.
Despite the findings, the peak body representing Australian lottery companies — which are in direct competition with Lottoland and other online bookmakers — said the two complaints raised serious concerns.
“These examples show us that consumers are being potentially confused by these products, thinking that they’ve bought something that they haven’t,” Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association CEO Ben Kearney said.
He said the Lottoland brand name created confusion for consumers because, unlike his members, the company did not conduct traditional lotteries involving the drawing of numbers at random.
“If you’ve got ‘lotto’ in your name and you’re not a lottery — and a lottery is very clear and concise what a lottery is — I’d say that it potentially confuses people,” he said.
The ABC asked Lottoland on Thursday if it would like to respond to the association’s comments.
The company is yet to respond.