Pools companies step up campaign against lottery
A founder member of The Independent David Lister joined the paper in 1986 as Assistant Home Editor. He became the paper's arts correspondent in 1988 and is now Arts Editor and writes a column each Saturday. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Monday 07 December 1992
The pools companies, who fear they will lose millions of pounds worth of business to a lottery, are to meet Mr Brooke and are likely to be offered some key concessions if a lottery goes ahead as planned in 1994.
They say that to compete on a 'level playing field', pools companies must be allowed to collect coupons and stakes at shops (they often do but it is officially illegal), advertise on television and radio, operate jackpots rather than have to give prizes based on the same week's income and pay no more tax than the lottery.
Malcolm Hughes, managing director of Vernons Pools, who has updated that organisation by designing coupons as lottery tickets and allowing credit card and freephone betting, said that Vernons would definitely be put out of business by the national lottery if the company did not receive from the Government the concessions outlined above.
He said: 'There has been a big change in how people use the pools. Ninety per cent of people use the same numbers every week. In other words they use it as a lottery. People who really want to bet on football use bookmakers. So a lottery will take custom away from us. In any market there's only room for one big prize competition.'
Mr Hughes said that Littlewoods pools, with pounds 700m a year turnover and 80 per cent of the market, would survive with a much reduced clientele while Vernons, with pounds 170m and 20 per cent of the market, would fold.
The lottery would attract 5 million players immediately and eventually get 10 million, he predicted.
Two years ago the pools promoters managed to convince the Treasury not to go ahead with the lottery but now that the Conservatives have promised it in their manifesto they will not have the same success again.
It looks likely, however, that the Government will grant them concessions, particularly on television advertising.
It has been reported that Hayden Phillips, the heritage department permanent secretary, has sent a memo to Mr Brooke saying that the lottery could mean 1,100 people in the pools industry being sacked.
However, department sources said yesterday that Mr Phillips was describing the worst scenario in that memo and it was not necessarily his view that this would happen.
It certainly is far from proved that punters will simply drop long- term habits of doing the pools because of the additional betting outlet of a lottery.
There is no exactly comparable situation abroad to give confidence in any research done so far that the pools companies' scare scenarios will necessarily prove accurate.
Mr Brooke will tell Parliament that to make the lottery as attractive as possible it should consist of more than one game - a simple scratch card with small instant cash prizes, and a computerised lotto game with pounds 1m jackpot prizes.
- 1 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 2 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 3 Is Ebola coming to Britain? UK health officials issue warning to doctors as outbreak fears grow
- 4 Richard Dawkins says 'date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse' on Twitter
- 5 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
- < Previous
- Next >
Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...
£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...
£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...