In a world first, Australians are now able to buy tickets online for this week’s record US $1.5 billion (AUD $2.15 billion) American Powerball jackpot.
The draw will take place at 2:00pm AEDT on Thursday, January 14.
This game-changing development in Australian online lottery gambling has been brought about by Lottoland, a Gibraltar-based firm which this week secured a gaming license from the Northern Territory Racing Commission.
The five-year deal is the very first of its kind, granting Lottoland the right the sell tickets for international lottery draws to Australian citizens.
“We are very excited about this, and Lottoland is setting the pace in opening up winning customer opportunities right around the world,” said Luke Brill, the head of Lottoland’s Australian operations, in a statement.
“It’s quite incredible now to think Australian citizens through Lottoland can join in on the race to win a mega international lottery without having to leave the comfort of their own lounge room or office.”
Prior to this landmark arrangement, Aussie punters would have to fly, sail, or swim abroad in order to participate in non-Australian lottery draws.
Now, by signing up at Lottoland.com.au, they can bet on more than 20 of the world’s richest lotto jackpots with only a few clicks of the mouse.
“We are setting the pace, carving out a world-leading position in this new and exciting category of online gaming,” said Lottoland chief executive Nigel Birrell.
“Lottoland is well positioned to accelerate its already phenomenal growth through continued product innovation and by expanding its international reach through securing a licence in Australia.”
Besides the US Powerball draw, Lottoland customers also get instant access to the EuroMillions, EuroJackpot, MegaMillions, UK Lotto, Irish Lotto and Spain’s annual El Gordo de Verano.
“Lottoland offers unrivalled choice – every day we have a different game and a chance for customers to become multi-millionaires and now welcome the opportunity to make our unique offer available to customers across Australia in the first quarter of this year,” Birrell said.
“Our Australian business is headed by Luke Brill, a seasoned online gambling executive, and is being run out of offices in Darwin and Sydney where we will look to recruit local expertise.”
Gary Grief, the executive director of Texas Lottery, said ticket sales for the upcoming Powerball jackpot draw were unlike anything he had experienced.
“Sales are doing exponentially more than we’ve ever done before,” Grief told the press.
“I’m hearing anecdotally and through news outlets, millions of people who have never played Powerball before are indeed purchasing a ticket.”
Powerball jackpot winners can choose to have their winnings paid either in 29 annual instalments, or in a single lump sump.
But unlike Australian lotto payouts, which are exempt from tax, any winnings from American-based draws such as Powerball would be taxed according United States law.
As Mr Brill explained: “If you were to win $1.3 billion in the US you would receive US $880 million after tax.”
Even after losing more than US $5 million through tax, that amount – which equates to roughly AUD $1.25 billion – is more than 10 times greater than the biggest ever Australian lottery jackpot.