Camelot scratches 9,500 outlets

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The Independent Online

Camelot has quietly culled the number of outlets where punters can buy National Lottery scratchcards by nearly 90 per cent.

Over the past three years, Camelot has reduced the number of scratchcard-only retailers from around 11,000 to just over 1,500. The lottery operator says this is in line with the plans set out in its strategy for sales growth announced in May 2003. And the move comes hand in hand with a plan to increase the number of retailers selling both National Lottery draw-based games and scratchcards to over 26,300, Camelot's highest number ever.

The lottery operator, headed by Dianne Thompson, is gearing up to rebid for its licence, after the National Lottery Commission said the new licence would extend for 10 years, not the present seven. It is expected that Ladbrokes, Sir Richard Branson and the Australian lottery group Tattersall's will bid against it for the licence.

In its half-year results last week, Camelot announced a further 2.3 per cent rise in sales, meaning that the National Lottery is currently experiencing the longest period of sales growth in its 11-year history. Scratchcard sales are also running at a six-year high.

Camelot's growth has come largely from online sales and new games such as Euromillions.