Vic government accused of cash grab over Oz Lotto changes

The Victorian government has been accused of a cash grab after it proposed changes to Oz Lotto draws that opponents say will make it harder for people to win the jackpot.

The government has proposed increasing the number of balls in the lotto draw from 45 to 47, and increasing supplementary numbers to three.

Shadow gaming minister Steph Ryan said it would reduce the likelihood of winning the jackpot to around one in 63 million.

“Ultimately, this is about delivering more revenue to government coffers,” she said. 

“By adding these extra numbers, the government guarantees that losses are bigger and, as a consequence, it takes more tax.”

A spokesperson for Oz Lotto said the odds of winning the division one jackpot would change, from one in 45,379,620 to one in 62,891,499.

The chance of winning any prize would improve, from one in 55 to one in 51, and the base jackpot would increase, from $2 million to $3 million.

“Players told us they wanted Oz Lotto to offer the potential for more winners and bigger prizes, and that’s exactly what we’ve given them,” Oz Lotto’s Matt Hart said.

Under the change, the price of an Oz Lotto entry would increase by 10 cents per game.

Minister for consumer affairs, liquor and gaming legislation Melissa Horne conceded it would be harder to win the jackpot, but there were other benefits.

“This has actually increased the odds of winning a prize in Oz Lotto,” she said.

“This creates more winning combinations and really provides that chance of winning any prize.”

The government said the changes were consistent with measures in other states and territories, and the overall payout to players will not change.

These changes also allow for a second Keno licence to be added and for Keno to be available online.

The government said the changes were not expected to increase gambling-related harm, but the Alliance for Gambling Reform’s Tim Costello said the move amounted to a tax grab.

“Really, at a time when we had the greatest gambling losses in the world — and that’s 40 per cent higher than the nation that comes second — why more opportunities for gambling? Why a second licence? That is puzzling,” he said.

The changes are set to come into effect from 17 May, subject to regulatory approval.

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