David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Lotto on sale at self-serve checkouts

Business plan aimed at lifting ticket sales dismisses risk of rise in problem gambling.

The papers reveal the commission was under pressure from supermarkets to make sales of Lotto and Instant Kiwi more profitable.
The papers reveal the commission was under pressure from supermarkets to make sales of Lotto and Instant Kiwi more profitable.

Supermarket shoppers can now buy Lotto tickets from self-service checkouts as well as those operated by staff.

Countdown is limiting the sales of tickets at self-service checkouts to 10 per customer as its offering of Lotteries Commission products spreads across the country.

The number of Countdown supermarkets offering Lotto at the checkout has grown from 64 stores three months ago to 104.

A Lotteries Commission business plan released through the Official Information Act shows the checkout sales plan was considered key to increasing the number of Lotto and Instant Kiwi tickets sold and the locations from which they are sold.

The plan, which was presented to the commission board, shows it expected to gain 6 per cent of new players through checkout sales.

The papers reveal the commission was under pressure from supermarkets to make sales of Lotto and Instant Kiwi more profitable. Board members were told they faced missing out on "key supermarket locations" if no way was found to reduce the cost of Lotto sales on supermarkets, which paid for kiosk staff.

The papers show the Lotteries Commission struggled for almost two years to get Countdown owner Progressive Enterprises to sign up to the deal. They also reveal the Countdown owners were pushing for exclusive rights to the relationship.

The business plan suggests selling Instant Kiwi tickets "next to chocolate, gum, magazines etc as last-minute impulse purchase choices". It also said it needed to future-proof the checkout sales by making sure self-service shoppers could buy Lotto.

There were five paragraphs devoted to problem gambling and ways to reduce the impact. The prospect of any increase to problem gambling was dismissed.

A Countdown spokeswoman said the supermarket chain was a "responsible" retailer. Shoppers were limited to five tickets in the self-service lanes. For Instant Kiwi, the limit is 10 tickets, although it is only available at standard checkouts, and is not available at the self-checkout.

A Lotteries spokeswoman said the commission worked to make sure "customers are informed, having fun and that they know their limits".

Problem Gambling Foundation chief executive Graeme Ramsey said he was concerned at the increasing normalisation of gambling.

"We're saying to people - and particularly kids - it is part of a normal grocery shop."

- NZ Herald

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