In Camelot, they make magic The founder

After four months, the nation is hooked on the National Lottery. Good news all round - but the best news is for those running the show.

The National Lottery can be said to have begun its life in a top floor flat in Floral Street, Covent Garden, a stone's throw from the Royal Opera House.

It was there in 1987 that the classical music conductor Denis Vaughan was visited by Sir Klaus Moser, then chairman of the Royal Opera House, to ask his advice on how the ROH could raise money for redevelopment.

Mr Vaughan, an Australian, said the best way was a national lottery. After all, that was what built the Sydney Opera House. And Mr Vaughan, more than Sir Klaus, became seized with the idea. He lobbied Margaret Thatcher, and knowing that she listened to the Adam Smith Institute on economic matters, he lobbied it, too. He became a constant visitor to the Home Office and Treasury, and brought the organisers of foreign lotteries to his London flat to brief him.

"I got used to stonewalling," Mr Vaughan, 68, recalls. "The Home Office told me there would never be a national lottery, right up until a few days before the White Paper."

By 1990 he had formed the Lottery Promotion Company with key members of the establishment, including Lord Birkett, the Earl of Harewood and the former arts minister Sir Richard Luce. More lobbying followed, as did a notable setback when the pools companies established the Sport and Arts Foundation, which effectively postponed the lottery for a year.

But when the lottery started it bore many of the features that were first discussed in Mr Vaughan's flat. Indeed, some of the Camelot consortium, which he now thinks is taking too much profit, came to his flat for advice.

Mr Vaughan's flat is now dominated by copies of Hansard, Early Day Motions by MPs and facts and figures about the lottery and possible abuses, which he circulates to MPs and journalists on a regular basis.

"My dream has come true to an extent," he said yesterday, "but it's only the beginning. If it's left as it is, it will dwindle."

Mr Vaughan sees several betrayals of his original ideals. "Already the money the Treasury is getting in tax, at £128m, is more than double the amount it has given to the sports council. The net proceeds of the lottery are not as great as possible, which by law they have to be, because the profits that the Office of the National Lottery has allowed them are too great.

"ICL is taking £100m profit for servicing 35,000 computers for seven years. Three other companies bid to do it for £30m. But as competition was only allowed between consortia and not between the companies that made them up, £65m is wasted.

"I'm even unhappy with the BBC National Lottery programme. The lottery is there to improve quality of life, but the BBC hasn't had any real examples. It even had Sir Georg Solti conducting an out of tune band."

And Mr Vaughan went off to start his day's telephone calls to everyone from Alan Yentob, controller of BBC1, to the Department of National Heritage and the Treasury, to ensure his baby grows up the way he planned.

David Lister

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
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: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'