The National Lottery has announced that it will operate its own points of sale. In early 2019, the first Lotto Shops of Lottery Centers will open their doors in Antwerp, Liège and Ghent. The announcement has led to criticism from the newspaper agents. They don’t like the fact that the National Lottery will now compete with its own sellers.
It’s interesting that the National Lottery is planning to open Lottery Centers, since Belgian political parties are trying to regulate gambling more strictly. For example, the possibilities for a legal online casino to advertise is limited. The number of betting offices has also been reduced in the last couple of years. However, the National Lottery makes an ‘aggressive move’ by trying to sell its products in special centers.
Competition for newspaper agents
The first Lottery Centers of the National Lottery will open their doors in Antwerp, Ghent and Liège. At the moment, the exact locations are not known. More information will be given in the near future. The newsagent aren’t happy with the Lottery Centers, because it means extra competition for them. It’s quite clear that people will mainly visit these shops to buy lottery products. Of course it’s mainly the daily paper business in the area around the lottery centers that will be confronted with the extra competition. A newspaper dealer from Brugge will not be bothered by the Lottery Center in Antwerp or Gent at all.
Ticket selling in Lottery Centers
The National Lottery has a lot of plans with its shops. For example, visitors will able to buy scratch cards and lottery forms over here. However, you cannot place a sport bet over here. This is only possible with a separate F-license, and that’s not the case. Betting offices also have to deal with some other rules and requirements regarding sports betting. Sports betting winners can get their prizes at a Lottery Center though.
Statement from the National Lottery
The National Lottery has made a statement regarding the points of sale. The selling of lottery tickets and scratch will not become the core of the so-called ‘Lottery Centers’. Instead, the most important function of the Lottery Centers will be its dialogues with players. For example, a visitor can ask about the products of the lottery. The Lottery Center also provides information about the charities the National Lottery supports. It’s even possible to apply for a grant from the National Lottery.
Promotion of National Lottery products
The National Lottery uses several ways to promote its products. In Belgium you can find a lot of (misleading) advertisements from the National Lottery. Think about posters in the train, for example. Recently the National Lottery was part of the Pano broadcast on gambling, which already showed that the games of chance of the National Lottery don’t have be inferior to those of private operators. Also interesting to note is that shops like the Blokker are planning to sell scratch cards. A bad move, since research has shown that scratch cards can be very addictive. Besides that, when these products are sold there is no verification of age or mention in the Excluded Persons Information System.