Punters to get a seat on new lottery board

CONSUMERs ARE to be represented on the commission in charge of the National Lottery for the first time, in an attempt to improve public confidence in the running of the draw, writes Rachel Sylvester.

Chris Smith, the Secretary of State for Culture, told the Independent on Sunday that he had decided the players should be formally represented on the regulatory board in order to turn the game back into the "people's lottery".

The move, on the lottery's fourth anniversary, reflects growing concern that people have become disillusioned with the draw, following a number of high-profile controversies.

"In the past there's been no formal voice in place for the players," Mr Smith said. "We are changing the system to make it more open. The lottery is played by virtually everyone in the country and as a result really does belong to everyone. That fact ought to be borne in mind by those running it. Having a consumer representative will help to ensure the players' interests do not get forgotten."

The Culture Secretary announced the setting up of a five-member Lottery Commission to regulate the draw, following the resignation of Sir Peter Davis as director-general of Oflot over allegations of a conflict of interests.

There have been more than 500 applications from people wanting to sit on the board and a recruitment agency will begin interviewing candidates shortly. Until now it had been assumed that the members would be business people, but Mr Smith has decided that players should be formally represented.

The Government was forced to step in after it emerged that the directors of the operator, Camelot, had paid themselves huge salaries and bonuses.

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