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Tuesday, 19 December, 2000, 17:55 GMT
Branson baffled by lottery decision
Sir Richard Branson: "Baffled"
Sir Richard Branson said he was extremely disappointed and baffled that Camelot had won the right to run the National Lottery for a further seven years.

The head of the People's Lottery said he would consider overnight whether to mount a legal challenge against the decision, but hinted that he would not.

Sir Richard hit out against Lord Burns who replaced Dame Helena Shovelton on the Lottery Commission.

"It's sad to see that one civil servant can be appointed to a commission and change this around so dramatically without speaking to us," he said.

It needed a change, people wanted to see a change

Richard Branson
Sir Richard said he thought it was incredibly sad that the people of the UK had not got the lottery they wanted.

"This government was elected on a pledge that all the money would go to good causes," he said.

He pointed out that last weekend's lottery game had had the lowest takings ever.

"It needed a change, people wanted to see a change," he said. "Good causes up and down the country will suffer."

"Camelot have been given a licence for life today."

Lord Terry Burns
Lord Burns: Target of Richard Branson's anger
Sir Richard said he could not understand how four judges had changed their minds after giving their support to The People's Lottery two months ago.

But he congratulated Camelot on its successful bid and a fair fight.

He also thanked his staff for all their hard work in getting the bid together.

"People have given up jobs because they have felt so passionate about it. I would like to thank them for the effort they have put into this," he said.

Sir Richard said that he believed that because of the efforts of the People's Lottery hundreds of millions of pounds extra would be going to good causes.

"If we had not bid, Camelot would have had that money to themselves," he said.

The Lottery commissioners, explaining the reasons for their decision, highlighted doubts about sales targets for the People's Lottery.

"The commission has concluded that the uncertainty relating to achievable sales is greater with the People's Lottery than with Camelot.

"There are also greater risks in the People's Lottery bid as regards costs and financial soundness.

"These risks combine with those that would inevitably arise from a change of operator."

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See also:

19 Dec 00 | UK
Lottery race unravelled
23 Nov 00 | UK Politics
Lottery saga could 'run and run'
24 Aug 00 | UK Politics
Lottery 'fiasco' prompts inquiry call
05 Oct 00 | UK
Camelot ups good cause cash
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