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the battle for Camelot - national lottery UK

The Battle for the National Lottery in the UK

Chris Grand |
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Who are the contenders for the United Kingdom lottery license, what’s at risk for Olympians and players? Richard Desmond was recently in the news vowing to bring the lottery back to British control. Desmond, the former owner of the Daily Express, is one of the biggest names across the lottery industry in the UK.

Introduced back in 2011, the Health Lottery is under the backing of his Shell and Northern firms. But in order to avoid the possibility of violating the regions Gambling Act, which only permits for a single national lottery, the lottery is currently divided into 12 regional draws, with 20% of the proceeds being channeled to local health related charity groups.

Richard Desmond launched scathing attacks towards the Camelot of losing their direction, and vowed to do everything to make sure that the National Lottery returns to British Control. The record of accomplishment of Camelot however claims to carry out one of Europe’s most reliable and efficient lotteries, having triumphed over previous contenders such as Richard Branson’s People’s Lottery.

Noel Edmonds hosted the initial National Lottery draw that took place in 1994, and it claims that it wants to provide “something for everyone,” with games made available on literally any device. However, its competitors have accused it of enabling the lottery to literally stagnate by relying a lot on an aging cohort players.

The weekly lottery draw’s novelty value and thrills seem long forgotten, and vanished from the television screen in 2017. But on the other hand, Camelot has also responded to such claims of dwindling sales by introducing other new products such as Euromillions. Euromillions offers participants massive rollover jackpots, along with Set for Life, a program that offers players a chance to win themselves £10,000 every month for 30 years. Online quick win games and scratchcards on the other hand give players a better chance of winning themselves small amounts of money.

These games have shown sufficient proof to be successful but even though large sums of money is given away in prizes, a small portion of the ticket finds its way to charitable causes. MPs chastised Camelot on the Public Accounts Committee in 2018, especially by going ahead and boosting its funding to desirable causes by 2% between 2009-10 and 2016-17, with the firm revenues jumping up by 122%.

The corporation has made attempts to close the deficit, though the next lottery licensed scheduled to begin in 2023 will force it to match or equal the earnings growth to several donations.

Do we really need a lottery?

So, is there a real need for a lottery? Camelot has claimed that the major lottery draw is all about raising more funds for charitable causes than it’s about gaming. Examined closely, that appears to be the case.

There are very slim chances of winning the lottery, and put in another way, it may end up being you, but nearly certainly not. An online draw or scratchcard stands a better chance of winning a few quid, though critics believe that the fast gratification afforded by these games may end up feeding gambling craze and addiction, especially for the younger generation of people.

Camelot has responded to the above concerns by going ahead to raise the minimum age or lottery participants to 18 from the previous 16, along with altering some games to make them less tempting to individuals who may have gambling problems. A few athletes who managed to testify to the select committee just last month were also realistic regarding the impact that the lottery has had on their lives.

Lauren Rowles, 23, believes that she wouldn’t have made it to the top of her chosen sector if it wasn’t for lottery assistance. Olympics swimmer Adam Peaty who says that lottery funding have helped people like him from working class backgrounds an invaluable leg-up, of grassroots sport further backs her claims.

Some MPs on the committee couldn’t hide their distaste for lottery cash. “I was very uncomfortable when I heard that you had to pay homage to greedy Camelot, the fact that you’re instructed to be obsequious to them on camera.

“It made me feel terribly uncomfortable because at the end of the day, this is funded by gambling,” said the SNP’s John Nicholson.

As things look now, the lottery is here to stay but for some, it will always be one of those immoral enterprises. The firms that are vying for the next license will be put under too much pressure to try to show their policies of protecting vulnerable players. But on the other hand, there in competition to pump fresh excitement into the games, generating additional cash for the causes, but mostly, for themselves.

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