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Monday, 29 April, 2002, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
Relaunch for 'boring' lottery
Billy Connelly
Billy Connelly is face of the new Lotto adverts
Lottery operator Camelot has unveiled plans to rename the main draw Lotto, part of a wide-ranging relaunch to boost interest.

The campaign is designed to stem the 500m decline in ticket sales over the past four years which has led to a fall in profits and less money available for good causes.

Chief executive Dianne Thompson, who has called the current format "boring", told Monday's news conference "comprehensive" changes would increase sales.

But the 28m relaunch - which also includes new games, machines and playing slips - has been condemned by advertising experts as "cosmetic" and unlikely to work.
What's New?
Name of main draw
Lotto Hotpicks
Advertising campaign
Retail machines

An advertising campaign, fronted by comedian Billy Connolly, will accompany the renaming of the main National Lottery draw as Lotto on 18 May.

Its new slogan will be "Don't Live A Little, Live A Lotto"

Ms Thompson told the press conference: "Lotto is not just a name, it's an attitude.

"It's created for dreamers and optimists. It brings out the best qualities in everyone."

'Lottery fatigue'

But there are fears it could lead to confusion in Northern Ireland.

The Irish State Lottery's twice weekly online draw has been known as Lotto for several years and many people in the north of Ireland buy tickets for it.

Lottery ticket sales
1997-98 5.5bn
1998-99 5.2bn
1999-2000 5bn
2000-01 4.9bn

But an Irish State Lottery spokeswoman said: "You cannot trademark the name Lotto, although we have registered the use of it."

A spokesman for Camelot denied they had pinched the name Lotto from the Irish but said: "Our research found that a significant proportion of lotteries are known as Lotto, for example in Switzerland, Poland and Ireland. So we felt it was appropriate."

Jon Sayers, of Boom! Communications, told BBC Breakfast cosmetic changes would not cure "lottery fatigue".

He said: "It (the name change) seems to be a rather desperate measure and unless it reflects a change in the structure of the game, and that means benefits to the consumer, I don't think it will work."
National Lottery history
Nov 1994: Camelot launches lottery
August 2000: Richard Branson's People's Lottery named preferred bidder for new licence
Sept 2000: High Court forces Camelot to be readmitted to licence race
Dec 2000: Camelot wins new licence
Jan 2001: Michael Grade new chairman
April 2002: Lottery relaunch

Speaking on the same programme, psychologist Dr Sandy Wolfson, who researched the drive of lottery players, said the most common complaint among the public was too much prize money at the top.

Camelot hope a new game in July called Lotto Hotpicks will cater for those who prefer a greater number of prizes worth less money.

While sales had declined in the past four years, Ms Thompson said the second half of this year would show sales drawing level with the same period the previous year.

'Positive impact'

Six out of ten British adults still regularly play the game - one of the highest levels of participation in the world, she said.

The name National Lottery will refer to the function of the lottery in raising money for good causes both nationally and locally.

Dianne Thompson
Ms Thompson: New-look will revitalise lottery

There will be an effort to rebrand new lottery-funded projects so the public make the link between developments in their local area and buying a lottery ticket.

A total of 11bn has so far been given to good causes years since the Lottery began in 1994.

Among other changes will be a new drawmaster for the television show - Gigi Morley, a 33-year-old radio presenter from Hampshire won a nationwide hunt to become "the face of the lottery".

For the first Lotto draw, there will be four chances to win the top multi-million pound prizes.

But the introduction of an online lottery has been delayed.

The logo was changed earlier this month.

The BBC's Jenny Scott
"Camelot are gambling on a new name to help them back to winning ways"
Camelot's Chief Executive Diane Thompson
"Don't live a little, live a lotto"

Lotto luck
Can a National Lottery relaunch revive interest?
See also:

03 Oct 01 | UK
Grade takes Camelot top job
10 Jan 01 | Business
Branson drops lottery challenge
10 Jan 01 | UK
At a glance: Lottery saga
19 Dec 00 | UK Politics
Camelot wins Lottery licence
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