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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 July, 2003, 06:10 GMT 07:10 UK
Lottery set for shake-up
Lottery tickets
Many are now bored of the lottery
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell is to unveil plans for a shake-up of the National Lottery after several years of declining sales.

In a White Paper to be published on Thursday, it is expected that different companies will be given the chance to run lottery games and the public will get more say over which good causes should benefit.

There will also be a new Young People's Fund, channelling 200m into projects to help the disadvantaged.

The lottery still raises huge sums but sales are sliding and there is a feeling it is becoming stale.

The white paper is designed to boost public support by making it easier to apply for grants and increase awareness of where the 14bn so far raised for good causes has gone.

It is expected to recommend a national lottery day and a single logo for national lottery-funded buildings to focus attention on national and local lottery projects.

People could vote to decide which schemes should get small grants in their local area.

Increasing centralisation

And to reduce bureaucracy, two of the good cause bodies will merge, creating a new distributor handing out half of all lottery money, including a new 200m fund for young people.

Luke Fitzherbert, from the Directory of Social Change, warned that the merger of the Community Fund and the New Opportunities Fund would mean increasing centralisation of charity funding.

But he welcomed increasing local involvement in small grants, covering amounts up to a few thousand pounds.

"It looks as if the money for small grants from the lottery, which is about a pound from every person in the country each year, is going to be delegated down to a local level for people to make their own local decisions.

"This is something we've long been asking for and it's great.

"My worry is that it won't go down far enough - we would like to see it go right down to the local towns or even the local housing estate."

The BBC's media correspondent Torin Douglas told Radio 4's Today programme that the government wanted the public to feel more involved with the lottery.

'Reconnect to public'

"They want everybody to feel they are part of the lottery and to reconnect with the public," he said.

The government would give people the chance to vote on where they would like the money for good causes to go either through a Big Brother-style TV voting system or by ticking a box on their lottery coupon.

Mr Douglas said that Camelot would lose its monopoly on running the lottery, and other companies would be allowed to bid for operating the different lottery games.

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