Camelot told: keep pounds 10 prize

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Indy Politics
National Lottery operator Camelot has come under increasing fire for scrapping a pledge to pay a fixed pounds 10 to players who match three numbers in the weekly draw.

The lottery watchdog Oflot gave Camelot the go-ahead to change the rules to protect against the remote possibility of a glut of pounds 10 winners plundering the prize pool.

The move sparked disbelief among politicians from all parties and dismay among bookmakers who demanded new laws to put them on an equal footing with the Lottery.

The Prime Minister assured disgruntled MPs at Question Time that players had more chance of winning the lottery jackpot than not being paid pounds 10.

Camelot statisticians revealed that in computer simulations of 279,000 years of lottery draws the so-called "Armageddon scenario" - when around 65 million people each won pounds 10, leaving a prize bill of pounds 650 million - did not occur.

However, Mr Sharpe pointed out that these were the same statisticians who said in January when there were two successive double rollover draws that such an eventuality could only happen once every 400 years.

"We have been pushing for permission to accept side bets on the lottery which is currently prohibited by law and this latest rule change will give us further ammunition.

Conservative MP Nigel Evans called on Camelot to take out insurance to cover themselves against the possibility.

"It shouldn't cost them much. Camelot are earning pounds 50 million a year profit from the Lottery, so can't they use just a little bit of this money to insure against this unlikely event ever taking place?" he told GMTV.

Shadow National Heritage spokesman Mark Fisher said: "The question is, should the Act have been set up like this and should it be amended. The Labour party set up a review committee and this is one of the questions they will be considering."

However, the Tory MP Sir John Gorst had little sympathy. He said: "It seems to me that what you have been arguing is that because the lottery has arrived the Government or society owe you a living," he said at the Commons National Heritage Select Committee.