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Tuesday, 5 September, 2000, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Should Branson get the Lottery?

Both Camelot's and Richard Branson's bids for the National Lottery have been rejected, but Branson will continue negotiations with the Lottery Commission for another month.

Camelot was widely tipped as the Commission's favourite to run the lottery, given its strong record of efficiency and technical competence. But computer software problems had shaken confidence and cost them the bid.

The 'People's Lottery', Branson's non-profit making consortium, have until September 23 to convince the Lottery Commission that they've got what it takes to run what has become a national institution.

Do you think Branson's 'People's Lottery' should get a chance to run the show? Or has the Virgin boss got his fingers in too many pies?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction


Do the right thing and offer it to him on bended knees!

Frances Eddleston, Canada

Of course Richard should take it over - he was the best person to run it in the first place. Politics as usual got in the way. Do the right thing and offer it to him on bended knees!
Frances Eddleston, Canada

I don't play the Lottery because the odds of winning are ridiculous and the amount that goes to 'good causes' is inadequate. I prefer to give to charities of my choice by gift aid. However, if it is run by a not for profit organisation then perhaps more could go either to prizes or good causes. I think the maximum prize should be capped at £1 million.
Tim Sowter, England

No, and neither should Camelot. The lottery should be scrapped asap, to stop the rotting of the nation's morality.
FM, UK


Give the man a shot, as flair, style and personality can be just the components that make feel good enough about themselves to support a worthy cause in what ever form presented

David Muir, New Zealand
Personally I feel lottery control could not go to a better person than Richard Branson. As anyone regardless of their monetary standing in society or other who is prepared to return the proceeds to worthy causes, be they most importantly health, education, to care for the almost forgotten elderly and infirm and growing disadvantaged in society has my money. Give the man a shot, as flair, style and personality can be just the components that make feel good enough about themselves to support a worthy cause in what ever form presented.
David Muir, New Zealand

No! The new lottery system he proposes will reduce my chances of winning the lottery even further, probably to about the same odds as a Virgin train arriving on time I expect.
Neil, UK

The lottery should go to which ever company can increase the chance of players winning a small amount: the emphasis should be on creating a large number of "small winners" rather than a small number who each win obscene jackpots.
Martin, England


Maybe you should step back and ask yourself why you spend your pound a week on the lottery - instead of putting it in a charity box

Dean, UK
If you are so worried about whether Camelot is putting its profits first, or whether the money is going to the correct 'good causes', maybe you should step back and ask yourself why you spend your pound a week on the lottery - instead of putting it in a charity box.
Dean, UK

Whoever runs the lottery are not the ones to blame for the "Lack of money" going to charities. That is down to the Civil servants who are "guided" by Government into what goes where. The money raised by the lottery should all go to charities of "OUR" choice, we pay into it and we should have a say. How many voted for the millennium dome and its millions?
Chris C, England


Camelot are acting as if it should have been automatically awarded the contract no matter what the circumstances

Bill Bailey, United Kingdom
What's the problem here? Camelot was given a licence to run the lottery for a set period. It came up for review and the commission for awarding the licence weren't happy with their performance over this period (It is the only lottery in Europe to have a consistent drop in takings), so they didn't get the licence this time.
Camelot are acting as if it should have been automatically awarded the contract no matter what the circumstances and however bad their performance. Taking this issue to court is wasting valuable time and money because the public no longer wants them to run it and will show this by a further reduction in contributions, in turn reducing the lottery's contribution to charity.
Bill Bailey, United Kingdom

"People's Lottery" ... who thought that up, Blair or Branson? I hope Sir Richard NEVER gets the lotto. All you have to do is look at the appalling state of his other businesses. He runs on spin, loves the publicity and is just so big-headed. Camelot have done nothing to be ashamed about -; except creating the best lottery in the world.
Antony Little, UK


Mr Branson runs a wonderful airline, is kind and generous to his employees, and is a genuine and honest businessman

Dorina Carley, USA
Richard Branson should have run the British Lottery from its inception. I was living in England from '93 to '96, and felt that Camelot getting the contract was wrong! Mr Branson runs a wonderful airline, is kind and generous to his employees, and is a genuine and honest businessman. Give him the lottery to run, and have done with people sitting back and scooping up money for themselves, to which they have no right!
Dorina Carley, USA

No no no. Camelot has made a huge success of the National Lottery, beyond all expectations, with vast sums raised for charity. Branson can't even get his trains to run on time! Something instinctive in me rebels against anything called the "people's" this or that. Maybe now that we are all living in Blair's People's Republic it should be expected but it doesn't mean I like it! Camelot has a proven track record and can deliver the goods.
Richard Willis, UK


I don't really care, though at least I trust Richard Branson

Mike Howles, UK
I don't really care, though at least I trust Richard Branson. At the end of the day we are all forgetting what the lottery is about: People having fun, charities and other concerns getting badly needed money and in the end everyone benefiting. Whether it be by winning money or enjoying the results of the charity money. I would however be very angry if money was again dumped into a huge hole like that hideous tent in London. Incidentally, I DON'T trust Camelot, fat cats with very big pockets.
Mike Howles, UK

Let's think about it logically. When the lottery started there used to be at least £12.5m Jackpot and now it stands up at £7m - (I know Wednesdays have also dipped into Saturday's Jackpot). This represents a 44% decrease. If RB wants to decrease the odds of winning from 1 in 13m to 1 in 22m and in smaller prizes. It does not take a genius to work out that there will be a huge slump in lottery ticket sales as people will realize they can't win. judging by the past decreases and the new odds of winning, I feel the Lottery ticket sales will slump by a massive 77%!!!
M Tariq, UK

Branson should definitely be given the chance of running the lottery as opposed to Camelot fat cats.
Jane Bennett, UK

Whoever wins should organise with the Government (whoever is in) that a selected number of Charitable organisations benefit every two years or so, for the whole of that period) i.e. MENCAP or PHAB get a job lot of money which is then disseminated throughout the whole organisation from a central pot (which is in a high interest account which gives double benefits). I'm sure that if this was highlighted to all and agreed by everyone that more would play the game regardless of payments in prize money.
Chris c, England


Branson may or not be a 'Virgin' but his associates and partners will naturally be in business to make money

Eliah, UK.
Branson may or not be a 'Virgin' but his associates and partners will naturally be in business to make money. Branson himself is a successful entrepreneur and will continue to gain financially from spin-offs attached to the lottery. The only way to increase to any extent the take from the lottery is to increase the ticket sales or price. To do this will mean more advertising and spending more money on razzamatazz, which of course will come from the lottery income itself.
Eliah, UK.

Yes I agree RB should get it, enough of the fat Cat Camelot. I hope that the Camelot staff will get a chance of being re-employed by RB's " People Lottery".
Didier, UK

This lottery should never have been in the hands of a profit-based organisation. This should have been one of the ground rules. Give it to Branson, he appears to be someone we can all trust, rare in business these days.
David Hallett, Switzerland

I cant even believe these people are considering giving it to the Camelot fat cats, they have shown their greed. It has to go to Mr R Branson!
Peter Hill, Burnham UK


Never trust a man with a beard. If he shaves - he's the man!

Nick smith, UK
Non-profit!! I wonder what the value of having the Virgin logo all over the country would be - never trust a man with a beard - if he shaves - he's the man!
Nick smith, UK

You can't judge R.B just by his train service, our railways are a disgrace anyway. He's a creative businessman and he built his empire from scratch. I'd choose him to run the lottery any day over the fat cat infested Camelot.
Zaki Abbas, UK

Whoever runs it - and my preference would be Richard Branson, no question - the National Lottery should not be run for profit. Only the Tories could have conceived of it in that way.
Dave, UK

Richard Branson has the common sense to realise that in order to get people interested you have to give them what they want, and a non profit making lottery is what was needed right from the start. Best of luck, Richard. I have every confidence in Richard Branson. He is the only entrepreneur in this country who does not come across as money grabbing.
David Richards, UK


It looks very much like the Government is controlling the Lottery Commission

John Robb, United Kingdom
It seems very much as if from the start of negotiations Camelot have had no chance of winning the contract for the next seven years. Mr Branson has been promised the opportunity to run the lottery by the Government? The Lottery Commission have NOT been business-like in their decision. It looks very much like the Government is controlling the Lottery Commission.
John Robb, United Kingdom

Camelot was rejected solely because of GTech's questionable business dealings. WHY isn't Branson rejected on the same grounds? He has aligned himself with a partner which already has similar problems in the USA. Why wait for history to repeat itself?
Charles Simon, UK

Yes, Yes, Yes! Richard Branson should get the lottery bid, because he is probably the only one who will run it on a non-profit making service. If you look at the history of Mr Branson business adventures he always strives to put the customer first. In today's market he is probably the only business man that I and a good few others would trust.
Steve McLean, Britain


Camelot have proved that they're interested in making themselves rich, Branson is already loaded, so he can afford a non-profit lottery

Alex White, UK
It boils down to who gives the most to charity. Camelot have proved that they're interested in making themselves rich, Branson is already loaded, so he can afford a non-profit lottery. Of course he should run the lottery.
Alex White, UK

So long as Camelot never ever get to run the lottery again, then I for one will be happy. From the start Camelot has behaved atrociously putting the focus solely on making money, with the charity aspect sidelined. I think this court case is basically one fat cat desperately worried that it might have to go on a diet and live like the rest of us.
Paul, UK

The complaints against Camelot all seem to be that it's made obscene amounts of money. I thought people played the lottery to win obscene amounts of money, but nobody is complaining about that. Money for good causes is only there so people can feel good about gambling their money away.
Andrew Dowle, UK

As someone who has never played the lottery. I do not care who runs it as long as it is not Richard Branson. Yet again he is using the lottery to promote himself. His track record in business is not as good as he makes out. Camelot have proved they can run the lottery and what will happen to the 800 staff they currently employ.
Shaun Cohen, UK

Camelot should hire the best lawyers in the land and sue the lottery commission for this disgraceful act. Software problems? More like politics! As an aside I find it incredulous that people write into this with comments rubbishing the operator of the lottery for the way the money is spent. After 7 years the people should be aware that Camelot has absolutely NOTHING to do with the way the money is distributed and furthermore their profits are within the guidelines approved by the commission...
Glad I don't live there anymore!
Mike, Singapore

Why not let Camelot and Branson each run a lottery. In most other walks of life we try to avoid a monopoly and reckon that competition improves things. Nice to see them competing to see who get most money for good causes.
Steve Dooley, England


The "Peoples Lottery" - isn't that what the Chinese and North Korean state lotteries would be called?

Martin, England
One thing that will put me off playing the lottery even more (besides the ludicrous odds) is calling it the "Peoples Lottery". Isn't that what the Chinese and North Korean state lotteries would be called?
Martin, England

Think of the new lottery organiser's name. Think of other names. Divide by zero. Meditate on power and glory. Consult spin-doctor. Ring juju man. Set up focus groups. Have media firework display with friends and relations. Forget the other names. Open the envelope. And the answer is¿ Richard Branson QED
Candide, France

I believe there was a internet or newspaper poll that showed that 96% of the general public wanted Richard Branson to run it. Or doesn't that count?
Daimon Hall, UK


We should all be happier with the People's Lottery provided Branson desists from forever grinning for his usual self-publicity and the media desists from its usual obligatory coverage of this

Ed Koh, UK
Camelot has had too much controversy and many are not happy with it. We should all be happier with People's Lottery provided Branson desists from forever grinning for his usual self-publicity and the media desists from its usual obligatory coverage of this.
Ed Koh, UK

Why not just be done with it, and abolish the whole thing. Then, every Saturday night, those who still wish to, can open their windows and lob a £1 coin out into the night ... given the odds, it amounts to much the same, doesn't it...?
Andy Bannister, UK


I detect a politically-correct vendetta spurred on by the gutter press, against Camelot

James Denning, UK
Richard Branson's success, although tangible and not insignificant, have been magnified by an extremely carefully managed press image. Look beneath the smiles, publicity stunts and advertising and the truth bodes ill for the lottery. Look at the various Virgin ventures that have not come up to expectation - starting with Virgin Cola and Virgin Vodka and moving on to Virgin Trains and the dubious success of the various web ventures and one sees that all is not rosy.

Furthermore if the Lottery commission has eliminated Camelot over software problems, isn't Richard Branson's bid tied up with technology from Microsoft? If Microsoft manage to produce viable, virtually bug-free software on time and on budget for the lottery, then that will be a world first. Overall I detect a politically-correct vendetta spurred on by the gutter press, against Camelot who after all, have delivered an overall quality of service that to the vast majority of lottery customers has been enviable given the technology involved.
James Denning, UK

Let's get this clear - Camelot lost the Lottery because they concealed software faults not because they had them. Of course every computer program has problems. Camelot knew about these problems but failed to report them and so lost the licence.
Alan Milnes, Scotland

No, Branson should not. Instead the rules need to be revised. We hear so much rhetoric about "free markets" and the like, yet the Lottery is a monopoly, why not allow anyone to set up a lottery? Why are unelected individuals given the power to make such decisions anyway? The situation is appalling; we are so brain washed that we rarely stop to really consider things openly.
Hugh Gleaves, UK

Camelot may already have a system working, but this would have to be replaced anyway due to technological changes. I'm glad Camelot won't run the lottery again due to all of the scandals involving the GTech firm that supplies the ticket machines.
Simon, England

As a THREE TIMES winner (£57 once and £10 twice) I think the present Lottery is just plain boring!! R.B will do something to cheer it up.
Alasdair Cameron, Scotland


Having a single supplier negotiation with Branson is like negotiating with both hands tied behind your back

Norman McNorris, England
The Lottery Commission have displayed quite stunning commercial naiveté (a) in ruling out Camelot because of some software problems and (b) in going ahead with a single negotiation with Branson. Every software supplier has problems - why not rule out EDS, Andersen's, IBM (all of whom have had major problems on government contracts) from all future government procurements. Having a single supplier negotiation with Branson is like negotiating with both hands tied behind your back. I do not know who runs the Commission - but they need to be replaced.
Norman McNorris, England

I'll sell my music shops, to pay for my ailing airline, then I'll sell half my airline to pay for my train service ( which is the worst in the UK) what can I sell to help my lottery? Will you please read what Branson is doing to the lotto before you join him. 56 numbers not 49 and £2 a ticket. Oh the lotto is not a tax, you HAVE to pay taxes.
Mark, UK

Why shouldn't a Lottery operator take a profit? Camelot take less the 5p in the pound, which is much less than most other businesses including supermarkets etc. The reason that the profits are so large in amount is due to the fact that Camelot has made the UK lottery the most successful in the world. Let's face facts. I for one - and I expect most players are in the same situation - don't play the lottery to give money to Good Causes. If I want to do that I'll give them money direct. I play the lottery to win. Pure and simple. Anyone not playing for this reason is just wasting their money.
Steve, UK

It's a great idea "The peoples lottery". It means we get more money and so do the charities. I hope he gets it!
James Blakely, England


One has to feel sorry for those people who work for Camelot. Hopefully Richard Branson will take some of them on

Sue, UK
Richard Branson should have had the lottery in the first place. The profits that Camelot have made are obscene. However one has to feel sorry for those real people who work for Camelot. Hopefully Richard Branson will take some of them on. They have experience after all.
Sue, UK

Yes he and whatever consortium is included should get the lottery and proceeds go to support national health, buying of scanners and kidney machines rather that paying 100 million to a millennium dome which is subsequently sold to Japanese entrepreneur
Gordon UK, England

I don't care who gets it. We shouldn't have it anyway and it certainly shouldn't take up as much TV time as it does. A simple announcement on the news of the numbers would do.
Richard Bragg, UK

The British understanding of business and instinctive acumen regarding matters commercial as demonstrated by many of the comments on this page, shows exactly why Richard Branson will run the lottery.
Steve Earl, UK


The simple fact is that Camelot got too greedy

Andy, England
The simple fact is that Camelot got too greedy. Far more prize money should be distributed - I mean £35 for four numbers is shambolic.
Andy, England

A Non Profit making organisation? It's a bit like unmetered internet access - being compensated through advertising. But how effective is it really going to be?
Shairaz, England

There seems to me to be a huge contradiction in people complaining about taxes, petrol costs etc, but then still handing over money to play the lottery every week. Whether it's a "tax on stupidity" or not doesn't really matter as long as the revenue generated is used for the public good. Who physically runs the lottery is academic: what's important is that the Government gets the money and spends it wisely.
Andrew McIntosh, UK Citizen resident in Ireland


Anybody who has the first idea about systems of this size and complexity knows that problems will always occur

Richard, England
So Camelot didn't get it because they have had some software problems in the past which means that they are obviously going to get them in the future. Yes they will! But then so will Branson. The difference is that Camelot already have a system in place and working. This is much less likely to cause major problems in the future than a new company installing a completely new system. Anybody who has the first idea about systems of this size and complexity knows that problems will always occur. There is no way that this can be used as a reason to discount a bid, it is just an excuse!
Richard, England

Richard is the natural choice and has the heart of the UK foremost. The fact that he has his fingers in so many pies, means that he won't need to use the lottery to make his millions. Go for it Richard!
Su Leach, Belgium


If he can start with nothing and build an empire then I'm sure he can manage the lottery

Stuart, England
Those who knock Branson are just jealous of his success and use his rail service as an excuse to put him down. The whole of the UK's rail system is poor! Put simply - if he is going to invest more money into good causes, more winners and without taking large sums of money out of the lottery like the Camelot fat cat directors then this has got to be better for everyone. If he can start with nothing and build an empire then I'm sure he can manage the lottery.
Stuart, England

Yes, let's have a 'People's Lottery'. Smaller wins to more winners along with the promise of much more money to good courses can only succeed. That's a 'People' Lottery'.
Margaret, Surrey

There is no reason why Branson should not get the Lottery. Camelot should stop moaning as they have made millions out of their operation. That is why they are now likely to lose the lottery.
M Stroud, UK

I think it's great. The naive, the stupid and the eternally optimistic pay to keep my taxes down! Go Richard, go!
John S, UK


Richard Branson is probably the only businessman alive who could get away with selling condoms through a company named Virgin

Karl Peters, UK
Richard Branson is probably the only businessman alive who could get away with selling condoms through a company named Virgin. If he can do that, he can sell sand to the Arabs, ice to the Eskimos and lottery tickets to the masses!
Karl Peters, UK

People seem to think that Branson running the Lottery will mean that he will have an influence over where the money goes that is raised. Wrong! The Lottery operator has absolutely NO influence over that. The decisions are made by civil servants running the different commissions and we all know how good they are at making decisions and standing by them! Or putting them off for another month.
Niki Akhurst, Australia


I for one will not buy a single ticket while the Lottery is run by this man

Harry, UK
Camelot set up the UK National Lottery in record time and made it the most successful in the world. Its reward for this? To be ousted by the ghastly Richard Branson who daily annoys anyone who travels on his trains, and who puts more emphasis on style over substance. No wonder this government plumped for him. I for one will not buy a single ticket while the Lottery is run by this man.
Harry, UK

Yes, Yes, Yes. He will give the Lottery a good shot in the arm, and if more people/projects benefit from more money then everyone is a winner.
I personally would rather play the lottery for a higher chance of winning a smaller prize then next to no chance of winning a big prize.
Dave, Wales

Call me old and cynical if you like - Branson may say that all profits will go to the good causes but how much will he take out for costs? Also he will be set to make a bomb if you can play the lottery on mobile phones (Virgin of course).
It's bad enough that this government is raking in lottery money for projects which should be funded from taxes, but don't let Branson insult our intelligence by saying that he's not making anything out of it.
Ailsa, UK


I hope whoever wins make a complete hash of it, and stops people, especially the poor and gullible, paying this 'stupidity tax'

Tommy Brown, Scotland
Personally, I hope whoever wins make a complete hash of it, and stops people, especially the poor and gullible, paying this "stupidity tax".
Tommy Brown, Scotland

I think that the way this whole episode has been handled smacks of political interference. If neither bid came up to scratch then surely the whole process begins again. A number of people have stated that Branson will give more to 'Good Causes', but look at the figures. Camelot have put over £9 BILLION into the pot in six years whilst giving the Government a sum not far away from £5 BILLION in TAX. A total not far away from what Branson says will be handed over in seven years.
Gordon Graham, Scotland

People are missing the point, regardless of who gets the lottery the government are using the lottery to get themselves out of trouble on things like the NHS and other areas where the lottery money goes. I would like to see a lottery where ALL the money going in is won by the public and stop the government using more of OUR money to pay for THEIR responsibilities (i.e. NHS)
Rich Lancaster, England


Let the people decide or just give the money to Gordon Brown so that schools, hospitals and deprived areas can benefit

Benj'min Mossop, Britain
Judging by the amount of money that Camelot pays its executives and the lack of money donated to not 'good causes' and charities but national services I don't think Camelot should be allowed to continue running the National Lottery.
My school applied for Lottery money to refurbish its theatre facilities and despite the money being available the bid was turned down. The entire borough and beyond would have benefited greatly.
I'm in favour of nationalising the Lottery and moving it out of Private hands and introducing a more democratic process to decide how funding is distributed. I don't believe that any Private company will manage this properly. Let the people decide or just give the money to Gordon Brown so that schools, hospitals and deprived areas can benefit.
Benj'min Mossop, Britain

I'll vote for whoever promises there will be no appalling Saturday Night lottery program on TV. Am I old fashioned not understanding why the lottery needs be a profit making enterprise at all?
Andy Brown, England


If people want to give money to charity, or the NHS, why don't they just do it, rather than hiding behind the lottery

Mick, UK
If people want to give money to charity, or the NHS, why don't they just do it, rather than hiding behind the lottery (a tax on the poor). The only reason people play is to win BIG prizes... hence more players on a roll-over. Where is RB's evidence that he will get increased revenue by paying smaller prizes.
Mick, UK

To David Ward's comment, you don't become a billionaire by giving money away - you are right in that. However, having made his billions it's not as if Richard Branson needs to earn any more money, so he can afford to do things for charity. If I had the luxury of his wealth I would also do more for charity than I can currently afford.
Willy Davidson, UK

Yes, I think Richard Branson should get the chance to run the show because he wears nice pullovers, and that facial hair - well say no more! At least that's non-profit making!!!
Matt, Australia


I worked at Camelot for a year before university

Will Holman, UK
I worked at Camelot for a year before university and I genuinely can't see how anybody could do a better job of running the lottery than they are. Don't believe all the propaganda you read in the papers.
Will Holman, UK

I think Sir Richard should run the lottery because of his incredible business acumen. If anybody can make a huge success of this venture, it is him. He has the power and the will of the country at large to give a huge boost to good causes as well as improving the odds of individuals to be financially secure. Good luck Richard!
Jack Davis, England

This is a good piece of PR. Branson claims to be running the lottery "not for profit" but how much will he take out in costs? He has an air of the nice guy but he is actually one of the toughest businessmen in the country.
Dennis, UK

Oh great, let's have Branson's grinning mug plastered all over something else. He's not a hero, he's a self-publicist who claims to be the little man taking on big companies whilst he is in fact just trying to monopolise everything himself. I might never be rich, but I won't ever buy a ticket off Rich.
Peter, England

Does it matter? The National Lottery is still a "tax on stupidity" whether Camelot profit or Branson "non-profit" is involved.
Tony Hague, England

Richard Branson is only trying to do what I would if I had the funds - stopping the British public from being ripped off, as usual. I wish him luck - he doesn't need to line his pockets, he is a man of the people.
Tony Walker, Egypt

Can he run the lottery better than he does his wretched railway businesses? I'd sooner the lottery was left with Camelot
Bob, England


The Richard Branson Show twice a week? - I'm leaving the Country!

Rob, UK
The Richard Branson Show twice a week? - I'm leaving the Country! I hope someone scrutinises the management charges that no doubt ''The Peoples Lottery'' will be paying Virgin!
Rob, UK

Camelot has made a great success of the lottery. It is now time to move forward. Public opinion is in favour of a lot more money going to charity, hospitals etc. Give the contract to the bidder who will give the most to these just causes - opera has had enough. And can you check to see if my numbers are in there?
Steve, UK

I am of the opinion that there exists an element of "political" interference - Blair and Branson perhaps. By virtue of the link between the so-called "Peoples' Parliament" the "Peoples' Princess", I feel that New Labour has something to do with the current situation, the "Peoples' Lottery".
Mark, UK

Soon we'll be renaming the country, "Great Branson".
David, UK

We are awaiting Virgin Airlines to crack the Australian airline monopoly - surely one thing at a time.
Beverly Kennedy, Australia

Please ask Tony Blair if he would take a hike and ask Mr Branson to run the country. Maybe he can get everything back on track
Chris Mason, Australia (English born)


Why do the British immediately distrust anyone who is successful?

Liz, Japan (UK)
I was pleasantly surprised to see so much support for Branson, but disappointed to see that there are still quite a few "he's rich, we can't trust him" comments. Why do the British immediately distrust anyone who is successful? He has a great mind for business and works hard - what on earth is wrong with that?
Liz, Japan (UK)

All the comments saying 'look at the railway' are unjustified. Most of the problems are with Railtrack and the Tories under investment for 18 years. Mr Branson will make the lottery a success, I, for one, will start playing again.
Craig B, UK

Just because Richard Branson has a lot of other businesses doesn't mean he shouldn't have another one, especially since this one is purely (financially at least) for charity. If he does this and gives ALL the proceeds to charities, why shouldn't he crow about it? I certainly would.
Tanya Smithson, England

Richard Branson should have had the lottery from day one. Anything designed to help good causes should not be run at a profit. The next thing they should look at is how the money is distributed, and include a percentage every week to the N.H.S.
Richard chamberlain, England


Richard Branson and 'Peoples lottery' will in all probability go the same way as his trains

Pauline Stanyon, UK
If Camelot could improve on prizes and charity donations then let Camelot keep the lottery. Richard Branson and 'Peoples lottery' - whatever that means - will in all probability go the same way as his trains. I don't believe he'll make a go of it.
Pauline Stanyon, UK

Richard Branson runs a great train service. I use if frequently to travel from Watford to Manchester - the trains are always on time, clean and the fares are cheap. If he can do this with the trains, imagine what he can do for the lottery?
Lyn, UK

The name of Peoples Lottery has the stench of New Labour all over it. This was a political decision to reward another one of Blair's cronies. It's a disgrace.
David K, England


I hope that Richard Branson is awarded the lottery as I believe that genuine charities only will benefit

Kay Harris, England
I hope that Richard Branson is awarded the lottery as I believe that genuine charities only will benefit, which I believed was the underlying reason for having a National Lottery in the first place. I think Camelot are a disgrace and all directors and associates should be brought to book for the alleged scams they have so far got away with.
Kay Harris, England

Richard Branson may have a lot of fingers in a lot of pies, but as long they are good pies for the public, who cares? Let him run the Lottery and show Camelot that you don't have to pay directors large sums of money and that you can run it as a non-profit operation. Good luck to him!
Riad Mannan, UK

At present you only need 6 out of 48 balls to win the jackpot. Branson's going to make this 6 out of 53 (i.e. giving you considerably less chance to win). Lengthening the odds on the main draw is hardly likely to inspire people to continue playing. OK, there'll be more smaller prizes, but generally it's the big money people are after. I predict a decline in ticket sales and another Virgin-type disaster.
Andrew Hall, UK

Another new Labour stitch-up. Lottery money to bail out the government for health, education etc. Disgusting...
Matt, UK

You don't become a billionaire by giving money to charity. He is not all what he seems!
David Ward, UK

Camelot have made out lottery the most successful in the world with over £7 billion raised for good causes since 1994. Why was their bid rejected? Because it didn't match with New Labour's manifesto commitment to create a non-profit making national lottery?
Tom Fletcher, UK


We are in danger of being taken over by Branson in every single part of our life experience

George Roberts, UK
We are in danger of being taken over by Branson in every single part of our life experience and I, for one, find this unacceptable. We must also remember that a large part of the Branson empire has singularly failed to meet the initial hyped expectations and I believe that the same applies to this lottery bid
George Roberts, UK

Given that one of the main aims of the National Lottery is to support good causes, I have always felt it wrong that Camelot made so much money for itself. For every ludicrous bonus Camelot paid its bosses, another 'good cause' went without. I believe 'The People's Lottery' reflects the original ethics of the National Lottery by handing over its profits to these causes.
Nick Hardy, England

Camelot didn't do themselves any good over the allegations of bribery (GTech) and the amounts paid to the directors. Why not give Branson a go? Maybe he can get more actually spent (not allocated) on good causes.
Steve, UK

Who cares, just as long as the poor and disadvantaged keep wasting their money on tickets and scratchcards, thus lowering my taxes?
Neil, England

Richard Branson should have had the licence to run the lottery from the first. I run the works syndicate, and so many people have dropped out because of the enormous profits made by Camelot. Now hopefully, if Richard Branson is in charge, more people will have faith as to where their money will be going.
Shirley Wallis, UK

Camelot has done nothing wrong. They have made fantastic money for the National Lottery and made it a huge success. The media hype at the launch was phenomenal. Camelot has taken a battering from the press and public misconceptions. Why give the contract to Richard Branson? If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
AJ Austin, UK


I think he should be congratulated. It also keeps him occupied

Benjamin Dyer, Scotland
Richard Branson is an entrepreneur who, like Tom Hunter, has made all the money he could want and wants to use his talents to do non-profit work. I think he should be congratulated. It also keeps him occupied.
Benjamin Dyer, Scotland

No, he should not get it. He should have a close look at his array of businesses and assess how customers have reacted to his services over the last year. I have had bad experiences and maybe when he develops a core business, he can concentrate better on customer satisfaction.
Han de Min, UK (was Netherlands)

The only people who have truly won the jackpot on the lottery so far are Camelot. My vote goes to whoever will increase prizes (size and/or number) and charitable donations, and cut the politically correct garbage out of the grant application process. So far that applicant appears to be Branson. I hope, if he gets it, that it runs with the professionalism of Virgin Atlantic.
John B, UK

Richard Branson gets enough publicity from his activities with the Virgin Group of companies. He does not need to be in the lottery limelight at all. I fail to understand the motivation for his wanting to take part in the project other than to promote the Virgin cause courtesy of a truly national platform.
Mike Smith, UK


If he can take it away from all the money-mad suits then that can only be a good thing!

Andy Cooper, UK
YES! Virgin have proved themselves on the majority of their business ventures, excelling in the area of customer service. If he can take it away from all the money-mad suits then that can only be a good thing! - Give something back to the people.
Andy Cooper, UK

Give the lottery to Branson. A non-profit making lottery the way it should be. The lottery commission wastes enough money with -out the operator taking a cut
Tom, UK

I have one thing to say: Virgin Railways.
Gerry, Scotland

Sir Dickie puts out a lot of spin on his activities, rather like New Labour. He also has something of a track record of promising the earth and then not delivering. Whilst Camelot are not perfect and GTech certainly have something to answer for, in the end I'm left to feel it's a shame there wasn't a third bidder.
Dominic Jackson, England


He may have a beard, and his trains might not be too good, BUT he has good intentions!

Stephen Hancock, Reading, UK
Of course Richard should get it. He may have a beard, and his trains might not be too good, and his cola tastes awful, BUT he has good intentions! And Charities will benefit.
Stephen Hancock, Reading, UK

Give it to Richard and lets hope he spreads it more wisely than Camelot. Reduce the amount going to stupid left wing so called 'arts' causes and put more into things like cancer research that will benefit more of the nation.
Bill Crawley, England

I stopped playing the lottery after a few months, when the novelty wore off, and certainly the likes of Richard Branson could re-energise the system. The only quibble I have is a sneaking suspicion that Mr Branson loves casting himself as the put-upon underdog, battling away against the corporate giants like BA and now Camelot. This populist approach would be fine, if we ignored the fact that his considerable fortune bears witness to the fact that he has done exceedingly well and that his enterprises can hardly be described as corporate minnows.
Paul, UK

The main thing above all is that Branson's bid is non-profit making, the way the lottery always should have been. This reminds of the time he saw off the dirty tricks and profiteering of BA, let's hope he can do the same to Camelot.
Stuart, Scotland


I would be surprised if his objectives with the national lottery are purely altruistic

Debbie, UK
Sir Richard has been very successful at promoting himself as the "Consumers Champion. But ask yourself why. This has always been to make himself money!!. I would be surprised if his objectives with the national lottery are purely altruistic. He will gain much needed positive publicity. Also remember his success rate with the trains, fashion, cola, pensions etc. Remember, while Camelot are not perfect, in this life you only ever get what you pay for!!!
Debbie, UK

I think to point the finger at GTECH is wrong. It was an individual at that company who made an extremely bad error in judgement, but should the hard working people of that company have to suffer because on fat cat screwed up??
Kris,

I don't mind who runs it as long as they pick the right numbers ..... just once!
Gary, England

Giving the lottery to Branson and Bill Gates...will it crash as often as the balloons or Windows 9x? Seriously, I do hope the many small shops and post offices which get much needed income from lottery sales continue to be the main outlets.
Douglas Smith, UK

I feel sorry for Camelot today. They deserve to be congratulated in establishing the Lottery infrastructure with relatively few hiccups, considering the size of the exercise. They do deserve bad press with regard to GTECH and salaries. Although, is it necessary to dissolve something that works and works well, rather than re-inventing the wheel. Can Sir-Richard's bid really be something better than what is already established?
dominic, UK

Isn't it about time someone else ran the lottery anyhow

Alan Knipeyer, UK

Isn't it about time someone else ran the lottery anyhow. Camelot has made way to much money for themselves in something which should be run as a non-profit scheme anyhow. The amounts of money paid to the managers should have been going to needy charities and other deserving causes. Bring on Richard Branson, a man who has proven himself in business and in life as being a successful person.
Alan Knipeyer, UK

RB seems to get everywhere these days! As there were only 2 applicants and Camelot have had 7 years to use their creative juices getting us to play its is time for a change. If RB can prove his bid is workable then why not.
Tim, England

They should cut the "worthy causes" nonsense out of the lottery equation. If you do the lottery to give to "good causes", then you are stupid as this is an inefficient way of making a charitable donation. Far better would be to put all the money into prizes. Imagine - every week a £50 million jackpot! If people then choose to pay extra tax, or donate funds to opera, let them do so. At least they will have the satisfaction of knowing all their donation reaches the intended tartget. So who cares who runs it, just as long as it is efficient!
Vernon Bigg, UK

Whether Richard Branson is allowed to run the lottery or not should have nothing to do with how many "pies" he already has his fingers in. What SHOULD matter is what the lottery is intended for - the charities who benefit from the money raised. Mr Branson's pledge to give ALL raised money to charity rather than funding already over-fat board members and shareholders should be commended, and Camelot should be taught a lesson and thrown out on its ear. Giving the lottery to a company who value profit over good causes was a mistake in the first place. Nobody should make money out of charity.
Lee Tonks, UK

An unreserved yes. Richard Branson has always seemed a man of integrity, but regardless of that a non-profit lottery is obviously better - profiteering Camelot have shown many times their main driving force is greed. I'm sure that everyone who enters would be far happier knowing that if they don't win as much of their money as possible is going to charity, rather than making someone else (who has probably never even bought a ticket!) very rich instead.
Gaz Haman, UK

I hope today people spare a thought for the staff at Camelot

Joanna, UK

I hope everyone spares a thought for the 800 employees at Camelot who have worked their socks off to make the UK lottery the best in the world. Camelot did a great job and was recognised as the best in the world and I hope today people spare a thought for the staff at Camelot as this news is reported.
Joanna, UK

Give Sir Richard a shot! He's had a lot of bad press but he really is the one person in this country who would give us fair deal. Besides, nothing could be worse than the absolute con of a lottery provided by Camelot. Bad publicity appears to be the order of the day for them! They've made a mockery of something which could be an extremely beneficial and charitable lottery. It stuns me that the company has been allowed to continue it's policy of 'Fat Cat' salaries.
Nick, UK

Richard Branson wishes to use the Lottery as a promotional vehicle, whilst not profiting directly the promotion of the Virgin brand name is worth millions a year to him... why can't Camelot be left to carry on, after all they have made this lottery the worlds most successful.
j Marshall, UK

Mr Branson should DEFINITELY be given the opportunity to run the national lottery. He consistently identifies key areas within the marketplace where the consumer is being "short changed" and rectifies the situation. With areas ranging from trans-Atlantic travel through to mobile communications he seems to deliver fair services to the consumer and I feel that once again, with the lottery he will deliver an unbeatable product.
Matt Buckland, England

Whilst I have nothing against Richard Branson running the lottery, I find it hard to understand latest decision. If neither bid is acceptable, how can it be fair only to allow one side to sort out the position? Surely it would be better for both Camelot and the People's Lottery to have a month to resolve the problems, and then let the commission decide. Also, if the problem with Camelot is bug-ridden software, how come they are happy with the People's Lottery since it is backed by Microsoft, notorious for producing software full of errors!
Chris, England

Let's let Branson in on this! And whilst were at it, lets ask him to work his magic on the current fuel price joke!
Steve Woods, UK

I think Branson should be given a chance to run the lottery. The general public appear to want smaller wins to more winners!
Dawn Pugh, England


Not the same Richard Branson who's contributed to such a great Railway system, surely?

Kirk Kenny, UK
I think the fact that both bids were rejected says a lot. The government are all too aware that Camelot haven't run the lottery at all well but there's a case for the devil you know when you take in to account that the rival bid is from one Richard Branson - not the same Richard Branson who's contributed to such a great Railway system, surely?
Kirk Kenny, UK

Yes I think it is about time someone else took over the lottery. Camelot have not done enough for good causes except their own pockets, and I don't think Richard would line his pockets as well.
Garth Spann, UK

It's amazing that an organisation that gives so much of its revenue away to good causes has failed to have a good public image. If reputation is anything to go by, Branson should get it.
Thomas Arquette, UK

Is this more cronyism? No profit for the Peoples' Lottery' but profit through mobile phone and internet links!
M J Murphy, UK

It's about time we have a change. Moreover, it's going to be non-profitable.
Banya, England


With the promise of all profits to go to good causes, along with better odds at winning, why would any one choose to give the license to money grabbing Camelot?

Amanda Wood, England
Yes Richard Branson should get to run the lottery. With the promise of all profits to go to good causes, along with better odds at winning, why would any one choose to give the license to money grabbing Camelot?
Amanda Wood, England

I would prefer less big prizes, more chance of winning a small prize and much more money being given to good causes. If Richard Branson can deliver that, then he should be given the chance. So far Camelot have shown that they cannot, they're more interested in lining their own pockets.
James Hayes, UK

Let's hope he runs it better than he runs his trains and his hot air balloons!
Zoe, UK

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23 Aug 00 | Business
Branson close to lottery coup
23 Aug 00 | Business
Lottery Commission statement
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