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The Money Programme Thursday, 16 November, 2000, 10:42 GMT
More 15/11/2000
Balls in the Air

The National Lottery has been a huge success, bestowing fortunes on a few, providing fun for millions, and raising billions of pounds for good causes.

But choosing a new operator to run the lottery for the next 7 years has descended into farce. The official bungles, delays, court action and ferocious name-calling now threatens to disrupt the lottery itself, and could present the Government with a Dome-sized embarassment.

For the past few weeks, The Money Programme has been following the rival contestants in what has become the bitterest business
 Richard Branson
Sir Richard Branson - People's Lottery
battle for years. Richard Branson's People's Lottery, and its urbane chief Simon Burridge, has been slugging it out with the current lottery operator Camelot, headed by tough Yorkshirewoman, Dianne Thompson.

Refereeing this savage punch-up has been the hapless Lottery Commmission, appointed by the Government. Sadly, its performance has been less than assured and has suffered even more blows than the battling contestants.

Dianne Thompson - Camelot

Any day now, the winner of the new lottery licence is supposed to be announced. But could there be yet more delays if the fight continues after the bell? And what would that mean for a game that has brought so much fun - and fortune - to so many?

Reporter: Nils Blythe
Producer: Louise Adamson


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