Now Camelot bids for Korean lottery

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The Independent Online

Camelot, the national lottery operator, is ready to make its second foray abroad with a bid to run South Korea's national game.

Camelot, the national lottery operator, is ready to make its second foray abroad with a bid to run South Korea's national game.

The consortium, which recently won the contract to become South Africa's national operator, is part of a group including car manufacturer Daewoo which is vying for the Korean Soccer Toto. Its partners also include GTech, the terminals maker that has put Camelot's bid to retain its UK licence in jeopardy. Camelot, which is fighting a challenge from Sir Richard Branson's The People's Lottery, was originally declared unfit to retain its licence after a series of glitches in GTech's systems emerged.

But a High Court judge last month upheld Camelot's application for a judicial review, and the National Lottery Commission, which is charged with the task of choosing between the bids, is expected to make its decision soon. Camelot has since agreed to buy out GTech's technological input.

Last week, a former civil servant, Lord Burns, was named as the replacement for Dame Helena Shovelton, who resigned in the face of fierce criticism of the Commission's handling of the selection process. Camelot argued successfully in court that the Commission's decision to continue negotiations only with The People's Lottery was unfair.

In joining the Commission, Lord Burns is walking into a raging storm of increasing acrimony between the two bidders. Sir Richard has accused Camelot of embarking on a smear campaign ahead of the Commission's final decision. Camelot has repeated its concerns that the Commissioners favour The People's Lottery. The consortium has refused to rule out further legal action if its bid is again rejected. There have also been complaints about the appointment of external solicitors with previous links to both bidders.

The selection process has raised concern that a successful bid by The People's Lottery will not be ready in time for the transfer of the licence next September. But Camelot - if it wins, Dianne Thompson, its new chief executive, will take up the reins - is understood to have promised to remain in position for an extra two months beyond the scheduled duration of its licence should the need arise.

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