Customer and anti-gambling advocates flagged legal activity within hours of the product being revealed at the bank’s entire-year profit announcement in Brisbane yesterday, as revealed exclusively by today. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, who staunchly opposes gambling, too spoke out about the account today. Mr Xenophon said he would follow authorities to explain why the product was approved and he intended to raise the issue in Senate Estimates next week. The Win Account, to be started on November 15, will be the beginning of its type in Australia and is based on matching products in New Zealand.

It has few fees and offers an yearly interest rate of 1 per cent, compared to most other savings accounts that provide about 4.5 per cent. Customers will be lured to the Win Account on the chance they can win the $20,000 1st prize in a monthly lottery, with an initial total prize pool of $30,000. When a minimum $250 is deposited, each dollar in the account will gain a ticket in the lottery. But a client who deposits $1000 into the account stands to go down about $35 per year in interest. Consumer groups GetUp! and Choice, which are already pursuing class activeness versus 12 banks for what it claims are illegal charges, have mooted common action against Bank of Queensland.

Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn said the account was “unreliable” and would encourage gambling, while GetUp! described it as an “dishonest” banking practice. The Salvation Army’s head of issue gambling services, Gerard Byrne, said the product was unlikely to influence existing problem gamblers, who mostly did not save money. Nevertheless, it would ultimately prompt new gamblers. Mr Liddy said yesterday the bank had made the account because it was not able to offer competitive interest rates compared to the prominent four. He opposed suggestions it would incite gaming. “It’s not gambling. You’re putting your money securely in a bank and being potentially rewarded … you’re not putting your capital at endangerment at all,” Mr Liddy said. “It’s a atypical account that will attract to some people and some it won’t. We’re not trying to dictate to people what they do, people will make that selection. “All our market research and the behaviour of the product in other markets suggests many people will enjoy it, others won’t touch it.”

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