Cadbury Schweppes is bringing consumer marketing skills to a five-strong consortium called Camelot, whose other members already work together on lottery systems across the world.
They are De La Rue, the security printer and maker of cash-handling equipment, which has been working on the plan for three years, Gtech, a supplier of lottery systems, and ICL, the computer group.
Camelot says it would sell lottery tickets in outlets ranging from corner-shop newsagents to large chains and petrol stations.
It would not, however, sell tickets in pubs and off-licences. Camelot is still devising the games it would offer but prizes would range from pounds 5 to pounds 1m.
'There will be tens of thousands of prizes each week, but not many millionaires,' said Tim Holley, chief executive of Camelot and a Racal director.
He said the lottery would stand or fall on how it was packaged. 'The tickets have to be sold by retailers over the counter. The man in the street won't want to know about our computer systems and technical expertise. He'll want to be able to buy a ticket fast.'
But whoever was chosen by the Department of National Heritage to operate the lottery would have only 15 months to get it running. 'The Government can't afford to take any chances,' Mr Holley said. 'Whoever runs the lottery must be above reproach. Its integrity, security and probity must be second to none and these will be the bywords of Camelot.'
David Rigg, director of communications, said there was no retailer in Camelot because no single retailer was big enough to provide the right mix of outlets.
'There will be no exclusive tie-up with any one outlet,' he added.
Camelot has not ruled out selling tickets in post offices despite fears that elderly people picking up pensions will be tempted by a ticket that they can ill afford.
On the technological side, Racal Electronics would link up all Camelot's lottery terminals on its national data network, which already links 150,000 government users.
It also supplies data communications equipment to lotteries in the US and Europe. Gtech designs, manufactures, installs and supports 62 existing computerised lottery systems, including those in 26 states of the US.
ICL is the leading provider of electronic point-of-sale equipment in Britain and De La Rue manufactures security systems and cash handling equipment and has supplied lotteries for more than 20 years.
Each of the companies owns 22.5 per cent of Camelot except ICL, which has 10 per cent. Royal Assent for the lottery should be given by early November. Bids will be tendered in the new year and the successful bidder chosen by the middle of 1994.
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