Camelot goes global for Lottery bid

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The Independent Online

The National Lottery operator, Camelot, plans to make up to 100 millionaires a month in the world's first global game if its bid for the new licence is successful.

However, the incumbent operator is facing serious competition from Sugal & Damani, an Indian conglomerate which runs the country's largest lottery.

At the National Gallery in London yesterday, the two camps unveiled their proposals for the new 10-year licence, which starts in 2009.

Camelot's chief executive, Dianne Thompson, said lotteries from 48 states and countries had already expressed an interest in taking part in what she said would be "the greatest lottery on earth". Numbers would be drawn on six continents to pick the monthly millionaires, while an annual draw would be held with a potential £200m jackpot for its global contestants.

Camelot has had a dedicated team working on its bid since January 2005. However, Ms Thompson said she did not underestimate Sugal & Damani. "It would be very easy for them to put in a cost-effective bid," she said.

Sugal's chairman, Sugalchand Jain, said he was "100 per cent confident of winning". He is being backed by a number of international partners, including UK businesses. Sugal would raise more money than Camelot for good causes through innovative technology, he said.

Mr Jain said his company currently gives 50 million rupees (£580,000) a year to good causes in India on top of money given to the government which is earmarked for charity. Through various trusts, the company has built schools, distributed free spectacles through medical camps and founded an engineering college.

Sugal spent £233,000 and six months preparing its bid document, which runs to 35,000 pages. Camelot spent £20m to prepare its 18,400-page document, and surveyed 170,000 people to ask their views on how the lottery should be run.

The UK operator, which has run the game since its launch in 1994, revealed a raft of other proposals, including an additional 1,300 terminals, digital screens showcasing good-cause beneficiaries, and new ways to play the games across Sky, Orange, eBay and Ticketmaster platforms.

The National Lottery commissioner, Robert Foster, welcomed the competition, and said it was "about raising as much money as possible for good causes through innovative games".

"We are pleased to have received two bids that have been prepared in a highly competitive environment," he added.

The winner will be announced in the summer.

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