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Officials Push for an Australian National Lottery to Generate Funds for Olympic Sports

Last Updated: Tuesday 29th November 2016, 11:36 am

The Australian Olympic Committee has backed calls for the formation of a state-run national lottery that could potentially provide AU$50 million a year in funding for the nation’s sporting teams and bolster athletes’ performance on the world stage.

Australia has long been known as a particularly sporting nation, frequently thrashing the English team on the cricket field and putting in stellar performances at numerous international athletics events. In recent years, however, the country has slipped down in the world rankings, most notably at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games when they placed 10th in the table, picking up 38 fewer medals than rivals Team GB.

In a bid to return Australia to its former sporting glory, a number of key organisations including the Australian Olympic Committee have expressed their strong desire for a national lottery that would emulate the UK’s own in providing much-needed funding for the nation’s sportsmen and women.

"Olympic sport is in desperate need of funding,” said Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates. “We are being out-funded by other countries, particularly Britain and Germany. I would give the lottery wholehearted support and I hope it gets up."

“Sport is an important part of Australian culture and we hate losing,” said Australian Sports Commission Chairman John Wylie, one of the key figures behind the push for a unified Australian national lottery. “If we are to remain competitive internationally, if we are going to have a healthy and active society, we need to invest significantly more in the system.”

It is estimated that as much as AUD$50 million ($37.35 million) could be generated for Australian sport each year with the introduction of a new nationwide lottery.

Over in the UK, for each ticket sold in The National Lottery, 28% is directed to a special Good Causes fund — of which 20% is donated to UK sport (another 20% goes to to the arts; 20% to heritage, and 40% to health, education, environment and charitable causes). In the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games alone, Team GB looks set to receive a massive £148M — much of which comes from the National Lottery. Following Britain’s admirable performance at Rio this year, most notably their dominance in cycling events, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that a cash injection from a state-run lottery could do wonders for Australia’s sporting performance.

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