Sunday, July 05, 2009

Online lotto ticket seller's windfall, by Gemma Jones - The Daily Telegraph - 6th July 2009

Australia's only online lottery ticket seller is raking in an extra 14 per cent on ticket sales from customers trying to strike it rich.

Punters who entered last week's $106 million Lotto draw online via Oz Lotteries' website paid a premium above what newsagents charge for a ticket.

A ticket which costs $126 in a NSW newsagency costs $18 more online.

Customers who bought online buy the tickets on credit, which newsagencies do not allow.

But some buyers claimed they were unaware of the additional charges when they bought online.

One customer told The Daily Telegraph he purchased a systems 10 in the record draw and was charged $144 while a friend bought the same ticket for $126 at a newsagent.

When he discovered that his friend paid less for an identical entry, he complained to Oz Lotteries.

Oz Lotteries replied that it charged a premium for its service, which it said was "superior" to newsagencies - and the price structure was published on its site.

"We clearly state prices throughout our site and do not make any claims about them being same/less than elsewhere," the company said in an email to the man.

"As with many other retail markets, our prices differ from other vendors and customers have freedom of choice to buy from whoever they wish," it added.

Oz Lotteries claimed in the email it needed to charge more to cover development, web servers, banking fees and marketing.

A NSW Lotteries spokeswoman said it posted a large price warning on its internet page before customers were directed to the Oz Lotteries site.

"(Oz Lotteries) is authorised to retail NSW Lotteries products with a higher fee structure than that of a traditional NSW Lotteries agency, to cover their operating costs in offering the unique services to customers," she said.

"These services include; maintaining records of orders received, operating accounts on behalf of players and providing a secure internet based selling system that safeguards players personal and financial information, are just a few examples of the additional services."

She said customers were able to cancel transactions at any time.

Information about the price structure was also printed on the Oz Lotteries website.

Oz Lotteries also offers its customers a facility to open gambling accounts with credit cards, compared with newsagencies which only sell lotto tickets to customers who pay cash or use a debit account.

NSW Lotteries, which approved the online seller, declined to say how many of the 10 million tickets sold in the record draw last week were through the website.

Players in Queensland and South Australia took out the $106 million jackpot with NSW lotto players sharing $720,000 in prize money. (Credit: The Daily Telegraph)

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