Camelot gets lucky with interactive lottery sales

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The Independent Online

Camelot will this week claim that it has become the largest interactive lottery in the world, after a sevenfold increase in sales.

Camelot will this week claim that it has become the largest interactive lottery in the world, after a sevenfold increase in sales.

During the financial year that ended on 31 March, total sales over the internet, through interactive TV and by mobile phone text messages were £87.5m. This compared with just £12.3m in 2003-04 - a 600 per cent increase. Camelot executives believe no other lottery in the world has that level of interactive sales.

Instant Win went online in February 2003, with the main lottery game, Lotto, following in December 2004. In April 2004 Lotto became available on interactive TV, through Sky, and in October 2004 "play by Text" was launched - allowing people who have registered with Camelot on its website to play Lotto, EuroMillions and Daily Play via text message.

The expansion of the lottery into text messages has been criticised by anti-gaming campaigners. However, Camelot has argued that it has some of the toughest protection systems in the world. It was one of the first organisations in the UK to have accreditation for its website from GamCare, a charity that deals with gambling addiction.

The interactive growth will be a highlight of figures that will show a slight increase in sales for Camelot, from the £4.6bn registered in 2003-04 - reversing a trend that has blighted most lotteries around the world.

Camelot is keen to give a good impression as it will soon have to start the process of rebidding for its licence, which runs out in 2009.

The National Lottery Commision, which regulates the lottery, last week appointed merchant bankers NM Rothschild to co-ordinate the bidding process. NM Rothschild was part of a losing consortium that bid against Camelot previously.

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