Branson launches new bid to run Lottery

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The Independent Online
RICHARD BRANSON is today expected to launch his second bid to run the National Lottery. The Virgin boss met his team last night to make the final decision on whether to join the race to win the contract, and he is due to announce his plans at a media conference today.

Mr Branson is set to launch The People's Lottery two weeks after licence holder Camelot announced its own plans to enter the race in partnership with the Post Office. The Virgin boss, who has pledged a not-for-profit Lottery, is tough competition in the battle for the contract starting in October 2001. His decision is a relief to the National Lottery Commission, which feared that Camelot might be the only bidder.

Mr Branson had worried that the competition would not be fair. However, the game's regulator has said that all 30,000 ticket terminals must be replaced by the new operator - removing Camelot's advantage - and that earnings would be linked to the amount raised for good causes rather than sales.

The deadline for Lottery bids is the end of February, with selection by the end of June.