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Friday, 26 January, 2001, 20:48 GMT
Camelot 'backtracks on good causes'
Sir Richard Branson
Sir Richard publicises his People's Lottery
Camelot says it will need a relaxation of lottery regulations if it is to have a realistic chance of meeting its 15bn pledge for donations to good causes.

Sir Richard Branson's People's Lottery, which last month lost out in the race for the national lottery licence, has accused Camelot of backtracking on a central plank of its licence bid.

It is an ambitious target. We will be at full stretch to deliver it

Camelot spokesman
Camelot's decision to match The People's Lottery's 15bn pledge was seen as an important factor in its license victory.

But a Camelot spokesman told BBC News Online it would be asking the National Lottery Commission to relax its regulatory framework to allow more aggressive marketing of lottery games.

New games

"We haven't stepped back from any of our plans to raise 15bn. We are still working towards that," a Camelot spokesman said.

But he added: "We can have all the plans in the world but it is the National Lottery Commission which has its foot on the brake.

"It can either use it a lot or a little. We are relying on the Commission."

Camelot wanted more freedom to market games and to "react to market conditions", he said.

For example, it wanted to launch a new Instants game every two weeks, but it currently takes up to six weeks to gain regulatory clearance.

"It (15bn) is an ambitious target. We will be at full stretch to deliver it," he added.

Camelot had yet to discuss possible regulation changes with National Lottery Commission, which is currently drawing up the next lottery licence.

If they set out their bid in order to beat us, but never had any intention of delivering it, then that is pretty disgraceful

Simon Burridge, People's Lottery
Simon Burridge, chief executive of The People's Lottery, said both it and Camelot had pledged to raise 15bn within the existing legislative framework - and Camelot now appeared to be backtracking on that.

"If they set out their bid in order to beat us, but never had any intention of delivering it, then that is pretty disgraceful," he said.

"From a players point of view we took some comfort in the thought that Camelot had increased the amount it was going to give to the good causes.

"Now it looks like they are not going to do that."

Alternative lottery

He said the People's Lottery was carrying out a feasiblility study on possible alternatives to Camelot's lottery.

And if it looked as if Camelot was not going to raise as much for the good causes as it had promised, the People's Lottery might be persuaded to launch an alternative, "to prop up the good causes".

Mr Burridge also hit out at the National Lottery Commission for not being prepared to take action against Camelot if it falls short of the good cause target.

But a spokesman for the Commission said the 15bn pledge was a rough target, rather than a legally enforcible figure.

And the Commission had been sceptical about the ability of either of the bidders to raise 15bn.

On balance, the Commission believed that Camelot would raise more cash for good causes.

However, he said that decision had been based on the existing regulatory framework.

"As far as I know Camelot did not ask for changes to the lottery regulations when they were making their bid," he added.

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See also:

19 Dec 00 | UK Politics
Camelot wins Lottery licence
10 Jan 01 | UK
At a glance: Lottery saga
19 Dec 00 | Business
Camelot: Back from the brink
05 Oct 00 | UK
Camelot ups good cause cash
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