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Kevin Smith

New Private UK Lotto to Rival Camelot

6 August 2004

A group of London-based businessmen is planning to launch a national lottery game to rival Camelot in October. The Internet will play a key role in the development of the new operation.

Another main focus of Chariotlottery will be the ability for consumers to pick what charities are given donations and to prevent "loony" grants or white elephant projects from getting funds from the lottery.

Initially the lotto will offer smaller jackpots than those from Camelot, but the group is hopeful the £1million a week in prize money will still draw enough players to make it a success. Tickets will cost £1 and like Camelot's Lotto game the new draw will involve picking six numbers out of 49.

Chariotlottery will operate under different rules from Camelot, which has a monopoly on paper-based lotteries. Gaming laws in the UK prohibit any new lottery from selling paper tickets so Chariotlottery will rely solely on its Internet site for the sale and distribution of its tickets. The new challenger will run as a society lottery, which allows maximum £2 million ticket sales for each draw, it will also avoid paying a 12p on the pound duty on ticket sales.

Players will register on the games' website, choose a draw and pay by debit card. Rollovers are not allowed and if no one picks all six numbers a computer will find the player with the closest selection.

The group is hopeful that growing discontent among players with Camelot over how National Lottery money is distributed can be levered to their advantage.

Dubious grants have included £270,000 to help Peruvian farmers breed fatter guinea pigs, while war veterans' groups and medical charities have been denied cash. Pro-IRA groups have been granted money as well as London's failed Millennium Dome, which received a £628 million grant.

Earlier this year it was revealed that the now defunct Community Fund had awarded £1.4 million in lottery money to support asylum seeker groups in a six-week period, while ex-servicemen's charities had been awarded just £28,000.

Chariotlottery chief executive Craig Freeman said the new company would be spreading the wealth among a wide-ranging group of charities throughout the UK.

"We will run five different games each week, which will benefit five different charities," he said. "Each charity will get 30p from every £1 spent. Maximum ticket sales will be £10 million, with £3 million for good causes - that's £600,000 each."

Freeman said the charities will rotate, with each group being a feature lotto pick about five times a year. Players will be able to see which one they are supporting and the individual charities will be able to promote the draw within their group of supporters and donors.

Another difference between Chariotlottery and Camelot is that the new venture said it would take out 11p of over pound as profit, while Camelot only takes out 0.5p.

A Camelot spokesman said they were not afraid of the new game and that its unlimited jackpots attracted players.

"We return around £23 million a week to good causes and the National Lottery has raised more than £15.8 billion since its launch in 1994," the representative said.

Freeman said he is hopeful the system and the Internet site can be perfected in September and ready for a full launch in October.

New Private UK Lotto to Rival Camelot is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith