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1994: Britain braced for first lottery draw
An estimated jackpot of 7m may be won tonight in Britain's first ever lottery draw.

A 1 ticket gives you a one-in-14-million chance of striking lucky and guessing correctly the winning six out of 49 numbers.

The lottery operator Camelot says around 15 million players have already bought some 35 million tickets from licensed retailers.

The money raised from ticket sales will help fund the arts, sports, charities, national heritage and millennium celebrations.

'Everyone wins'

Prime Minister John Major launched the ticket sales just under a week ago.

He said, "The country will be a lot richer because of the lottery. It is in every sense the people's lottery."

The game has certainly gripped the public's imagination. Around seven million tickets were sold within 12 hours of the launch and it is expected that final sales could reach 45m.

Twenty five million people are expected to tune into BBC One's live lottery draw show hosted by Noel Edmonds, Anthea Turner and Gordon Kennedy tonight.

Forty nine contestants - one for each lottery number -have been chosen from thousands to participate in an "It's a Knockout" style competition as part of the show.

The victor gets the chance to press the button on the prize machine, launching Britain's first lottery draw since 1826.

A 10m computer will randomly select the winning numbers that will roll down one by one into a display rack.

The machine will then check for a winning combination and calculate the size of the jackpot.

The computer will reveal whether there is a top prize winner within half an hour but cross-checking could take as long as four hours.

Telephone staff will be waiting to get a call from the winner as soon as the numbers are picked.

Once officials have established that a claim is genuine, a team will drive the winner to the nearest Camelot office.

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Noel Edmonds
Noel Edmonds launches the first national lottery draw show

In Context
Seven jackpot winners got around 800,000 each in the first lottery draw.

In its first year 267m of lottery money went to the "good causes" - arts, heritage, millennium and sport - 154m went to charity.

There has been controversy about how lottery money is spent.

In 1996 Prime Minister John Major criticised grants to certain minority groups such as gays; and in 1997 Labour attracted criticism when it introduced the New Opportunities Fund to target one fifth of "good causes" money on government health education and environment programmes.

In 2002 Camelot won another seven-year contract to run the lottery, beating Richard Branson for the tender a second time.

In May 2003 MPs criticised plans to use 1.5bn of Lotto cash to part-fund London's bid for the 2012 Olympics.

Camelot introduced a range of games such as scratchcards, Thunderball and EuroMillions to stem flagging ticket sales.

The National Lottery announced an income of 4.6bn in 2004, representing the first year-on-year growth since 1997.

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