Australia’s biggest lottery provider Tabcorp has flagged the possibility of hosting a draw to encourage people to get the jab.
So far, only about 9.1 million vaccines have been administered in Australia — well behind the 334 million doses in United States and the 80.6 million doses in United Kingdom. Earlier in the month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison flagged Australia can’t reach the second phase, which will see eased restrictions on vaccinated residents, of the government’s four-phase plan until the majority of Australians haven’t gotten the jab.
Now, a host of companies like Tabcorp have come forward to offer incentives to speed up the process. In a statement provided to 9News, the lottery provider said while it was all for offering a dedicated lottery, it needs to work out some “complex considerations” first.
“The conduct of lotteries in Australia is highly regulated in each jurisdiction,” the statement read. “Introducing a dedicated lottery for those vaccinated would require, among other things, navigating the requirements of our state lottery licences and responsible gambling practices, the approval of state government regulators, gaining clarification from the Therapeutic Goods Administration around incentivising vaccinations, and maintaining customer privacy.”
Tabcorp added it’s “happy to consider other suggestions to support the vaccine roll-out”.
Speaking to Today, Defence Minister Peter Dutton said he was in favour of the lottery, telling hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon “it’s a great idea”.
“The only two flaws which the company has identified is they need regulation approval and someone to pay for it,” he said. “So apart from that it seems like a sound proposal. Anything to incentivise people to get vaccinated I’m in favour of.”
Dutton then went on to urge unvaccinated Aussies to go and chat to their GPs if they were hesitant. “If you’ve hesitated in getting a vaccination, please go back and see your doctor because the medical advice is clear, get vaccinated as quickly as possible,” he said.
Tabcorp isn’t the only company trying to speed up the vaccine rollout. The Australian reported on Wednesday that Australia’s club industry has offered its 6,413 clubs to the federal government to accelerate the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines, proposing a national Covid-safe lottery and free games of Bingo and Keno for patrons who agree to be vaccinated.
It comes after Professor Paul Kelly, Australia’s chief medical officer, said the government needed to find new ways to encourage people.
“I think we really do need to look for incentives, as many incentives as we can,” he said at a press conference in May. “Some of these incentives will be talked about in coming days and weeks, but I think the main incentive is because it’s going to actually protect you, your family and the community.”
Some countries such as the US have introduced things such as lottery schemes to get more people onboard. In fact, the lottery saw vaccinations rates rise by 49 per cent. Meanwhile, free beer, doughnuts and veggies have also been up for grabs. Meanwhile, in Serbia, people are being offered the equivalent of $40 just to get their first dose of the vaccine.