Camelot to sue in battle to regain the Lottery

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The Independent Online

Camelot is to take legal action today as it fights a rear-guard action to retain the right to run the National Lottery.

Camelot is to take legal action today as it fights a rear-guard action to retain the right to run the National Lottery.

It will go to the High Court in London to seek a judicial review of the Lottery Commission's decision to continue talking with Sir Richard Branson's People's Lottery after telling Camelot: "It couldn't be you."

The company yesterday asked the Commission re-consider its decision to exclude it from negotiations for the new licence, which comes into effect in a year's time. It declined to do so.

Dianne Thompson, chief executive designate of Camelot, said this decision had driven them to the courts. She said the company's 800 staff - many of whom are being courted by Sir Richard - thought the decision "totally unfair".

She said Camelot had established and run the world's most successful lottery, but were being denied a fair opportunity to meet the concerns of the commission.

If Camelot is successful, a date is expected to be fixed for a judicial review of the Commission's decision.

The legal move was announced as Sir Richard Branson was set to hold his first meeting with the lottery regulator after pledging his own money to secure the licence to run the game.

The Virgin tycoon has been given a month to come up with a guaranteed £50 million emergency fund to back-up his bid to hold the licence for the next seven years.

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