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Thursday, February 5, 1998 Published at 01:48 GMT


Pools firm points finger of blame at lottery
image: [ Football pools companies always feared competition from the Lottery ]
Football pools companies always feared competition from the Lottery

The football pools operator, Vernons, is to cut 200 jobs. Managers blamed the cuts on the National Lottery, saying the market for betting on football had shrunk by almost two-thirds since the Lottery began.

Most of the jobs to go are at Vernons headquarters in Liverpool.

The management at Vernons said the "radical restructuring" was regrettable but necessary to safeguard the firm's long-term future. A spokesman said the Liverpool workforce would fall from 350 to around 150 by May.

The job losses would affect staff at all levels and in all departments.

The managing director of the company, Phil Jarrold, said: "I am naturally distressed by the need for this latest round of redundancies.

"I am grateful for the contribution which each and every one of our staff and collectors has made. I regret that the level of duty on pools, the impact of the National Lottery and changing customer trends have conspired to make this radical restructuring inevitable."

Mr Jarrold said the decision would put Vernons on a more secure footing and would ensure the company remained a major player in the pools industry.

Vernons said an application had been submitted to Oflot to operate a new football-related national lottery game, which it claimed had the potential to generate substantial income for good causes.

Marge Carey, of Usdaw - the Union of Shop Distributor and Allied Workers - which represents around 250 members of the Liverpool workforce, said the announcement did not come as a shock.

"Basically, we predicted all of this five years ago when the first mention of a lottery was made. The then government insisted the two could run in tandem, and all along we said they couldn't," she said.

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