Drinkers to gamble on pub lottery

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The Independent Online
Gamblers will be able to win a pounds 200,000 daily jackpot on electronic pub lotteries, under proposals announced yesterday.

The game, which could be available at 10,000 pubs and newsagents, has gone ahead despite warnings from ministers that it could herald a boom in betting. It was also revealed that maximum jackpots for scratch cards will be doubled to pounds 200,000.

The moves follow the introduction of the electronic lottery game, Pronto, which is at present available in about 1,000 pubs and a small number of newsagents, social clubs, leisure centres, and betting shops. A further 1,000 are being fitted and the owners, Inter Lotto, plan to eventually have 10,000 machines throughout the country.

Punters select numbers from the machines which are sent to a central computer. The winning jackpot numbers are chosen and the draws are shown live on in-pub monitors. The major difference to the National Lottery is that draws take place every 20 minutes and the prizes are a maximum of pounds 25,000, although most people win between pounds 1 and pounds 300. Twenty per cent of each stake goes to one of a pool of charities.

When details of the game first emerged George Howarth, the Home Office minister, said, "there are particular concerns about frequent lottery games being freely available in premises which serve alcohol".

Anti-gambling organisations have been critical of the Pronto style systems, particularly when placed in pubs.