Lottery sells 7 million dreams in a day

The launch of the National Lottery yesterday was hailed as an outstanding success after 7 million tickets - understood to be more than double the expected number - were bought around Britain in 12 hours.

Shops reported brisk sales of the pounds 1 tickets and few teething problems with the pounds 70m computer network that links just over 10,000 stores to Camelot, the lottery operator.

The launch was celebrated at an early-morning party at the Tower of London, attended by the Prime Minister, for the countdown to 7am, when the first tickets went on sale. The first draw will be televised on BBC 1 on Saturday.

John Major said: ``I'm going to buy a lottery ticket, and the proceeds will go to charity if I win.'' Later, he revealed the charity would be Mencap, and his lottery numbers were 29, 3, 43 - after his birthdate - 13, 11 and 10.

``Daybreak at the Tower of London has been a pretty inauspicious time for a lot of people over the years but not, I think, this morning,'' he added. ``It [the lottery] is going to raise huge sums of money for good causes that public expenditure would never provide for.'' They include the arts, sport and heritage.

Stephen Dorrell, the National Heritage Secretary, denied claims that the game would act in effect as a tax on the poor, saying: ``Tax is compulsory, the lottery is voluntary.'' But Chris Smith, the Labour heritage spokesman, warned the lottery must not be seen as a method for distributing money from the poor to finance the pastimes of the rich.

The only problems of the day were small ones: computer and satellite links connecting some retailers to Camelot went down, and a flood at a network switching centre in Luton, Bedfordshire, cut off the link to most outlets in the town.

(Photograph omitted)

Mixed reception, page 3

Letters, page 15

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Solution Architect - Contract

£500 - £600 per day: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Solution Architect is requir...

360 Resourcing Solutions: Export Sales Coordinator

£18k - 20k per year: 360 Resourcing Solutions: ROLE: Export Sales Coordinato...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Telesales Executive - OTE £35,000+

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest developer of mobile...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue