Bigger jackpots designed as lure for the people

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The Independent Online

The People's Lottery, headed by Sir Richard Branson, will work on a simple premise - more people will play if there is a bigger jackpot.

The People's Lottery, headed by Sir Richard Branson, will work on a simple premise - more people will play if there is a bigger jackpot.

As many as 12 million fewer people buy lottery tickets now than when sales peaked in January 1996 when 94 per cent of adults spent a total of £127.8m for a chance to win the double rollover jackpot of £81.4m.

The People's Lottery is hoping to replicate such figures by creating eight double and two triple rollovers a year. They plan to achieve this by lengthening the odds of one in 14 million of winning the Saturday and Wednesday games. Players currently choose six of 49 numbers. Under the new rules they will still choose six but 53 numbered balls will go into the draw twice a week.

Another innovation is the new "Millionaires" game, which will run alongside the two weekly draws. Players willing to spend a second pound will get a seventh number. They will stand a 1 in 3 million chance of becoming a millionaire if six of the seven numbers are drawn. It is this game that has allowed the company to claim it will create 2,500 millionaires in the seven-year licence period.

It will also launch a new range of Instants, or scratch cards, targeted at specific interest groups. Promoters have emphasised plans for new interactive games played over the Internet and through interactive television and WAP mobile phones. Despite heralding these technological advances the company was yesterday keeping tight-lipped about exactly how they will work, but suppliers of the hard- and software include two of the world's largest companies, Microsoft and Cisco Systems.

The company that has won the licences for seven of the last 14 lottery licences in the United States, Automated Wagering International (AWI), will run the technical side of the new lottery.It will be joined by KPMG Consulting, Energis, and Compaq. Marketing will be run by J Walter Thompson and will benefit from the expertise of cornflakes manufacturer Kellogg's.

J Walter Thompson was the company at which The People's Lottery chief executive, Simon Burridge, made his name. He also joined Sir Richard in his 1994 bid to run the lottery.

Suppliers will not be shareholders in The People's Lottery. The company will be owned by a holding company, which will have a board of seven directors but no shareholders.

Sir Richard will be just one of six non-executives on the Board. He will be joined by John Jackson, who was in charge of the 1994 bid. The others will be Henry King, chairman of Rentokil Initial, Caroline Marland, managing director of Guardian Newspapers, Michael Blakenham, former chairman of the publishers Pearson Plc, and Don Cruickshank, chairman of Scottish Media Group.

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