Brooke aims to deter syndicates

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Indy Politics
SECONDS after saying that the national lottery would not attract the 'gambler', Peter Brooke was using a word familiar to all gamblers - 'syndicate', writes David Lister.

Mr Brooke was anxious to make the point that the British lottery would be structured to avoid huge payouts that encourage syndicates. This happened earlier this year on the Irish lottery where a syndicate bought sufficient numbers of 50p tickets.

The Irish experience has been studied in some depth by ministers, anxious to avoid the allegation made in the Republic that the state decreased funding, of the arts in particular, because of lottery proceeds. Lotteries in New Zealand and Norway have also been studied, as these three come closest to the Government's plans and are aimed at populations with broadly similar cultures.

In many European countries lotteries have been conducted for several centuries. In Spain, El Gordo (The Fat One) is a national institution, with 70 per cent of the adult population spending pounds 106 per head and the country coming to a standstill during the weekly televised draw. It raised pounds 4bn last year. Mr Brooke would not commit himself to televised draws yesterday, but he did not rule them out.

The Lotto draw in New Zealand every Saturday night is also a national event.