[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 November 2004, 17:30 GMT
The lottery's winners and losers
When the National Lottery was launched 10 years ago, it split public opinion - was state-sponsored gambling a good or bad thing. A decade on, has opinion changed?

Facts and figures about a decade of the National Lottery

When the National Lottery was introduced by the then Conservative government in 1994 it was hailed as "the most successful innovation of any government for years".

But since before its launch, it has always attracted controversy. In the beginning, it was dismissed by some as a further means of taxation and an excuse to top up government coffers. Others thought it was making gambling more accessible.

The controversy has continued through its 10 year life, with critics gleefully jumping on mistakes made by bodies which hand out the money raised by the operator, Camelot.

But others hail it as an unparalleled success story which has enriched the lives of millions through the thousands of projects it has helped across the UK.

We asked a number of Lottery commentators what they think its impact has been on Britain.

Ray Snoddy
Ray Snoddy, media commentator

"The National Lottery has clearly changed and developed. Overall, it's been a great success.

"It had to change because the experience of every lottery all over the world is that year after year when people don't win the magical five million sales draw to a plateau or fall. This happened to the National Lottery.

"How they've made it successful is by introducing a whole series of new games; the different draws - the Euro draw and the daily play - and buying Lottery tickets on mobile phones.

"This is what they've had to do, certainly in the last two or three years, and they've increased revenue and it is growing again.

"Another important thing is they got the right to put up plaques to say this was put here by the Lottery.

"People didn't always know what was being done before. It was a bit controversial before.

"There were huge rows where people found out that something in Covent Garden had been funded by the Lottery but they would say 'I don't go to Covent Garden, how have I benefited'?

"Now every community can say it has had something funded by the Lottery.

"I don't think the Lottery makes good entertainment in terms of the actual TV programmes.

"The moment of entertainment comes in the fantasy that this week you're going to win it and in planning what you're going to spend your jackpot on.

Simon Burridge
Simon Burridge, The People's Lottery

"The National Lottery has been good for Britain but there are lots of ways that it could be improved," says Mr Burridge, chief executive of Richard Branson's The People's Lottery which vied with Camelot to run the draw, pledging to give its profits to charity.

"I think it could have been a lot more successful and a lot more money could have been raised for charitable causes.

"Right at the beginning, back in 1993, when we put together an understanding of how much it could raise we said 10bn for good causes where Camelot said a lot less.

"From this it could be deduced they were very good at running lotteries but they were bad at forecasting.

"Essentially, Camelot needs to make the Lottery fun again - their game strategy is all over the place, the games need to be more involving.

"The Lottery needs to get inside things and become part of the national fabric because at the moment, it's like a financial transaction.

"What Camelot has done is blame the Queen's Jubilee for a fall in ticket sales and the same with the World Cup. They've also blamed the weather.

"Things like the Jubilee and the World Cup should be made part of the Lottery with special events. People should be really up about it.

"Richard Branson and the People's Lottery may consider applying for the licence again in 2007 but only if the main criteria for selection is in making the most money for charitable causes."

Barbara Wragg
7.5m Lottery winner Barbara Wragg

"I'm certain the lottery has been a good thing for Britain. So many people have benefited from the good causes.

"On 22 January, I was sat with my husband watching the Lottery on TV as we did every Saturday night.

"If we were going out we would always sit down and wait until the Lottery results came on.

"We were babysitting that night. When three numbers came up, I said to my husband 'that'll pay for our lottery tickets for Wednesday' because we always used to buy 5-worth of tickets.

"When we realised how much we'd won, we just said that we wanted to make sure our families were looked after.

"We decided how 4.5m of the cash would be spent that night because we looked after our family and then thought about our friends.

"We have given a lot of money to charities, particularly in Sheffield.

"It's amazing that the Lottery gave the opportunity to us to have this money to help people with.

"If it wasn't for the Lottery we couldn't have dreamed of coming into this money in the way we have.

"I think Camelot have done a brilliant job in running the Lottery."

Rachel Lampard
Rachel Lampard, the Methodist Church

"The National Lottery has definitely changed things in Britain," says Ms Lampard, the Methodist Church's press and parliamentary officer.

"On the one hand, it's really brought gambling into the mainstream. People are very used to going into the shops and seeing gambling products all around them.

"And on the other hand, funding has made a real difference to a lot of charities.

"But it has skewed the funding environment. For example, if churches want to be involved in community projects, they have to accept Lottery funding - it's the only way to get these projects off the ground.

"In the Methodist Church we decided to accept Lottery funding - that was a hard decision for us because of our fundamental beliefs.

"It's not the only way to fund a project but it's quite difficult to be part of a coalition and refuse to accept Lottery funding.

"We are concerned that new developments in buying tickets on the internet and on mobile phones give greater accessibility and they have added new layers of concern about who's going to buy tickets.

"The Lottery is not in the same league as casinos and fruit machines but our fear is that it brings things into the mainstream."

Sir Ian Wragg
Professor Ian Walker, University of Warwick

"Camelot will tell you it's created 1,700 millionaires and they think that's a good thing," says economist and Lottery authority Prof Walker.

"I don't know whether that is necessarily a good thing.

"We also have a nice tent in London and several empty museums.

"I don't think the distribution of funds is subject to the same kind of auditing as regular government expenditure.

"Camelot have done lots of worthwhile things but it's possible to exaggerate the extent to which it's been a force for good.

"I think it's probably better if we pay for these things from our own tax revenue.

"Having said that, Camelot is one of the few private operators in the world and it's very efficient.

"It charges us only 5% for the privilege of running the game where most public operators seem to have expenses that are more than double that.

"It works very well and it's very reliable."

Stuart Etherington
Stuart Etherington, NCVO

"Despite the Lottery's massive success in raising money for good causes, charities have real concerns about the Lottery's future," says Stuart, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations .

"The biggest potential challenge to the Lottery's funding of good causes and its independence from the government came with the sudden decision to form a new super Lottery distributor, the Big Lottery Fund.

"Some fear that the government will take a far more hands-on approach to determining what the BLF funds than it did with the previous charity distribution body the Community Fund.

"Reassuringly, according to a recent ICM poll, the public are very supportive of an independent Lottery, free from political interference.

"However, the same poll showed that there is widespread confusion about where the money actually goes.

"Most believed charities that help asylum seekers get the same amount of lottery cash as organisations that help the disabled and the elderly."

Dianne Thompson, Camelot chief executive

Our players have raised over 16bn, funding more than 180,000 good causes. We have created over 1,700 millionaires, and offered people up and down the UK "a chance to dream". The entire operation is run on costs of just 4.5% of sales. That makes Camelot among the most efficient major lottery operators in the world.

Our most recent half year results showed sales up by over 100m on the same period last year. Weekly sales are now running at between 85m and 90m a week - which compares to 48m a week when the National Lottery launched in 1994.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific