Wednesday 24. August, 2016

Australia Considers National Lottery to Fund Olympic Athletes

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) is considering a national lottery scheme as a way to increase funding for athletes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. It is looking at duplicating the UK’s national lottery which has been cited as the key to the success of British athletes in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Australia’s olympic team is currently sitting in ninth place in the medal tally with seven golds, eight silvers and nine bronzes which falls short of the top five finish the ASC was hoping for.

If the Federal government is not prepared to spend more on sport, ASC chairman John Wylie says the funding will need to come from elsewhere. They distributed $134 million via their Winning Edge program which allocated money based on medal-winning chances; however based on the results of the olympics, this program is coming under scrutiny. The UK National lottery scheme which produced such successful results this olympics, distributed $476 million.

“It is absolutely clear to me going forward that with no [government] funding increases in seven years, if Australia wants to remain competitive in world sport, the financial challenge is increasing and the funding of sport has to increase,” stated Wylie.

“And we will look at new sources of revenue rather than just asking for more government appropriation.”

“Other countries are investing more and the environment is much more competitive and we owe it to our athletes to provide the necessary support.”

“More funding will be needed and we have to think about where that funding will come from so we want to look at a sports lottery. We are going to look at it very, very seriously.”

The technicalities of such a scheme would need to be worked out and it is possible that they would be state-based lotteries, as opposed to federal.

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