Pools companies step up campaign against lottery

LOBBYING against a state national lottery is intensifying as Peter Brooke, Secretary of State for National Heritage, prepares to bring the lottery Bill before Parliament next week.

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea