In an effort to "level the playing field" for betting outfits dented by the success of the lottery, the Home Office is planning to lift the restrictions governing horse racing, the pools and bingo. Key proposals in a Green Paper, due in the next few weeks, are believed to include more tax concessions for the pools companies, the introduction of new casinos and gaming machines in betting shops, the lifting of advertising restrictions, and the abolition of the 24-hour wait before new members can join bingo clubs.
The most controversial proposal from gambling organisations lobbying for change is to allow punters to bet on the lottery results with bookmakers, rather than play the lottery itself. Louise White, Camelot's head of public affairs, said yesterday: "I think there would be outrage that something which essentially belongs to the public is being used by the bookies to boost their own profits. It would have a disastrous effect on the National Lottery in terms of raising money for good causes and it would obviously mean smaller jackpots."