Big lottery wins may be cut

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The Independent Online
Camelot is considering cutting the size of rolled-over lottery jackpots in response to mountning criticism, MPs were told yesterday.

The company was giving evidence at a meeting of the Commons select committee on heritage held to review the game's first eight weeks.

One rolled-over jackpot, won by a Blackburn factory worker last month, totalled £17.8m. One MP yesterday described the size of such wins as ``obscene''.

The jackpot has rolled over this week and is again likely to exceed £17m.

Camelot believes that one way of reducing extremely high jackpots would be to slice off a fixed percentage when a jackpot rolled over, possibly 10 to 20 per cent of the total.

The sum would be added to prize money distributed to those who match five out of six numbers and a bonus number.

MPs expressed their concern at how the factory worker was identified against his will. Gerald Kaufman, committee chairman, told Camelot's most senior representatives: "You stumbled at the first hurdle, and one of the ways you stumbled was in offering anyinformation whatsoever about this person."

But despite admitting it told the media he lived in the North of England and gave details of his job and family, Camelot denied it was responsible for identifying him.

Sir Ron Dearing, chairman of Camelot, said that two tabloid papers were already aware of his name. The man had also agreed to disclose the facts Camelot disclosed and even wanted to give more. "This was a matter which was discussed with the winner and hewas of the mind to go further, to be much more specific about his location, and our advisors counselled him against that," he said.

"We recognise that the more information you give, the more you make it possible for the press to track down the winner . . . We have decided that unless the winner wants his name to be made public, we should give no information whatever."

David Rigg, Camelot's communications director, said there had been an intense level of media interest and the Sun and the Daily Mirror , which were offering rewards for readers who shopped lottery winners, already knew the man's identity.