THE success of small business could be under threat with Tatts Lotto’s plans to expand the sale of lottery tickets into supermarkets. Information has surfaced from the Newsagents Association of NSW and ACT that newsagencies across the State were “fighting for their lives”. Chief executive officer Andrew Packham highlighted several issues that have the potential to put newsagencies in jeopardy, but one of the biggest complaints was the chance newsagencies would no longer be the sole providers of lottery tickets and Scratchies. While the Labor party was still in power in 2010, the privatisation of NSW Lotteries had assurances in place to prevent supermarkets and other big retailers from selling lotto tickets and scratchies until March 31, 2015. As the date draws closer, the fear is setting in concerning what Tatts Lotto will do next. “You would think that by expecting agents to accept such uncommercial terms, Tatts would balance it with an exclusive franchise to justify the investment,” Mr Packham said. “On the contrary, Tatts trumpet the success of their Coles Express Trial in Victoria and point to it as their future.” Bathurst newsagencies support Mr Packham’s comments and have called on the government to come in to bat for small business owners. “I would like to see a system in place like in Queensland where it prohibits [lottery tickets] being sold anywhere else but at newsagencies,” Westpoint Newsagency, Bathurst, owner Lachlan Sullivan said. He, like many others, believes the big supermarkets already have too much control over consumer demand, and more revenue pumped into the economy via them will result in the closure of many newsagencies. “The big two or three can’t have it all,” he said. “There has to be a morsel left for small businesses to contribute to the economy.” The biggest threat to newsagency viability is the convenience a supermarket offers; they are open longer and have the majority of consumer needs in one place, a service the local newsagency just can’t provide. “It will simply come down to convenience and whether it’s easier to buy lottery tickets at supermarkets,” Mr Sullivan said. But there is hope the idea will fall flat. “I’m not too sure people would want to buy lottery tickets while trying to put through milk and bread and cheese,” he said. Newsagencies will also have to contend with further disruptions from Tatts Lotto, including a corporate shop refit on all 1500 agencies using only Tatts approved fitters and components, and demands from Tatts for unfettered access to agents’ bank accounts to sweep money at least twice a week.