Camelot in lottery rollover

So Camelot has been chosen to continue to run the National Lottery, having beaten India's largest lottery operator Sugal & Damani to the new 10-year licence, which comes into effect in February 2009. It's a jackpot for the UK company, but hardly the toughest challenge it has ever had to face. Indeed, with the almost unknown Indian firm its only rival, its triumph was like winning a lottery where there's only one ball, labelled ‘1', and the only other player hasn't got a quid for a ticket.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

This becomes clear when you look at the relative proposals. Camelot, the incumbent company which has run the National Lottery since its inception in 1994, spent £20m compiling its 18,000-page document; Sugal & Damani, meanwhile, has no experience of the UK market, and its 35,000-page proposal apparently cost a mere £2,310. It scored well on technology, unsurprisingly perhaps for an Indian challenge, but the National Lottery Commission deemed Camelot more likely to deliver more money for good causes, which will include helping to generate around £2.2bn for the 2012 Olympics.

The lack of competition reflects many companies' fear that the Lottery bid process is a one-sided affair, with the odds stacked too heavily in Camelot's favour. Indeed, when the Lottery was first introduced under John Major, Camelot had to beat seven companies to claim the prize. Only Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson fancied a go last time, when his People's Lottery challenge to Camelot descended into farce. The Commission ended up rejecting both bids before the incumbent overturned the decision in the High Court.

It's clear that any challenge to Camelot would have to spend big to stand a chance of winning. Hence Sugal & Damini may have been better off buying 2,310 scratch cards.

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